Culture Abuse - Bay Dream (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Culture Abuse

Bay Dream (2018)


Is it mandatory that a band on Epitaph these days look at switching up their sound? Pianos Become The Teeth and Touche Amore really toned it down (to great effect I must add), and now it seems Culture Abuse has done the same. This is all in jest of course, because as I've gotten older, I've become more receptive to bands exploring new frontiers. And Culture Abuse does that on Bay Dream which is a breezy, poppy and oh-so melodic summer album from a band I thought was gonna hammer out more grunge/punk/hardcore.

I met lead singer Dave Kelling in LA a year ago after catching them play (1. his family's from Trinidad so fuck yeah 2. catch them live, they're so fucking energetic and awesome), and they're really a bunch of chill dudes. Which to me makes this record all the more digestible, even if I wanted something as buzzy and aggressive as Peach (which you kinda get on "Dozy' here, but that's about it).

The record starts slow with summer jams and singalongs like "Bay Dream" and "Dip", which leaves you wondering if this was indeed written at the beach. It progressively amps up though, building to more eclectic guitar cuts on songs like "Bee King To The Bugs" and "Calm E" which take on a speedier approach and really mesh in crunchier basslines, harmonic keyboards and a way fuller sound than the opening of the record. However, you can't help but feel these songs are too minimal and bare for a band like Culture Abuse which has always been raw, inventive and crashing down upon you with loud, fuzzy noise. All in all, it's a good album, but I kept waiting for that big, mighty and monstrous climax which never comes. Still, I can bet these songs will be quite the jam live, and I do applaud Dave and the guys for doing what the fuck they want. How punk of 'em...