Track Premiere: “Already Dead” by Beach Language

Beach Language is back with a fresh new album cycle, and with it are some of the band’s most dance-worthy synth rock outings yet. Lead singles from the Oklahoma City group’s forthcoming third project, titled Small Talk, have been stacking up quickly this month, and each has been a genuine treat, teasing the album’s catchy rhythms, slick production, and contemplative themes.

Hot on the heels of “Be Afraid”, “Otsū”, and the title track, “Already Dead” drops today and is the fourth and final lead single from Small Talk before the album’s official June 18th release date.

Stream “Already Dead” now via the Spotify player below.

Beach Language describes the new album in part as an exploration of modern communication and how shallow it has become. In “Already Dead”, the band expresses this through a crumbling social dynamic between two people. The singer acknowledges over a chorus that “I’m already dead to you,” but the verses spell out a more interesting relationship behind the refrain.

The other person is sending mixed signals at best and saving face at worst when the person’s actions, speech, and so on fail to cohere. Reciting reassurances on the surface while behaving differently below is a surefire way to poison a line of communication. However, it seems this person is content with carrying on the illusion of connection, and it’s not even clear how self-aware this person is of this choice.

Meanwhile, the protagonist yearns for something with more authenticity and depth. The song’s bridge encapsulates the human core of the single — and perhaps the whole album — in two simple lines:  “I wanna talk to somebody / I wanna talk to you.” The musical arrangement gets slightly sparser here, highlighting this moment with synth hits, dramatic toms, and a wandering electric guitar that wordlessly echoes the lead melody.

The synths and drums inject the pizzazz the song needs to stay on the dance floor, and the songwriting ensures it’s not just empty calories being burned out there. Like much of Beach Language’s past music (including 2016’s Restless EP, a Big 50 alum), “Already Dead” pairs grooves with moods in an uncommon way.

At first take, it’s almost too simple. The beats are easy to find and the structures are more than familiar. There are subtle tonal hooks and thematic ideas, however, that sink into the listener to draw them into a more complex space. It’s as if Beach Language is setting the example of how a conversation should really unfold, flipping the “small talk” of common-denominator pop song tropes to go deep where others remain shallow. The approach is smart, but whether it goes all the way with its theory depends on who’s paying attention on the other end of the line.

Listeners will get a chance to become part of that conversation on Tuesday, June 18th, when Small Talk releases across all streaming and downloading platforms. Rumor has it that there’s a vinyl in the works as well. The record is Beach Language’s first full-length album, following two acclaimed EPs. It was recorded and mixed by Dustin Ragland and mastered by Kevin Lively in OKC. Get a look at the full tracklist at the group’s Bandcamp page, where the album is still available to pre-order.

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aka Jarvix, the Chief Executive Weirdo of Make Oklahoma Weirder. His out-of-the-box music coverage has been published by the Oklahoma Gazette, KOSU, and The Oklahoman among others. He also makes DIY music as a solo multi-instrumentalist live looper in his spare time.

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