ALBUM REVIEW: Culture Abuse – Bay Dream

Release Date: June 15th 2018
Label: Epitaph Records


After signing with Epitaph Records, it’d be safe to assume that Culture Abuse would present their sophomore effort, titled ‘Bay Dream’, as a more punk driven collection. Instead, the group have teamed up with producer Carlos De La Garza (Paramore, Jimmy Eat World) to smooth out the edges of their 2016 debut ‘Peach’ and create a fuzzy daydream of a record.

From start-to-finish, each track on ‘Bay Dream’ melds into one another to fuse together a soundscape littered with lyrical melodies, and the sound of punk progressing from what has been previously expected of it.

‘Bee Kind To The Bugs’ combines a The Pixies style bass line with surf guitar leads in order to create a punk ditty to the kindness of others. The melodies found within this song are constant, whether it’s the vocals and guitar lead following one another during the chorus, or the innovative use of modulated vocals at its close.

The wealth of influences on this record is nothing short of impressive. ‘California Speedball’ picks up where the Americanised Brit-pop of Gerard Way‘s debut solo album ‘Hesitant Alien’ left off. On the other hand, ‘Rats In The Walls’ summons the garage punk style of Fidlar, albeit with a summer vibe laid out on top of it.

The tone of the record is one of positive change. Whilst this theme is shown through its composition, it’s re-enforced lyrically. Tracks such as ‘S’Why’ directly address this theme, with lines such as “I feel you pushing me forward / To the place I wanna go.”

Other tracks address this theme on a less universal level, such as ‘Dave’s Not Here’, stating “I’ve got problems of my own / I don’t pay them no mind.” The delivery in how both sets of lyrics are presented is different to one another, a subtle hint of how they’re to be taken in context.

Whilst ‘Bay Dreams’ seems like a huge departure for Culture Abuse, elements from their debut ‘Peach’ remain present. They take form in the pounding drums and scattered fills, as well as the fuzzed out rhythm guitar tones that drive nearly every track.

Ultimately, the record is sonic narrative with a unified theme of progression, whilst allowing the numerous melodies to add slight twists and turns to maintain suspense.