Culture Abuse - Bay Dream - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Culture Abuse - Bay Dream

by Nathan Fidler Rating:6 Release Date:2018-06-15
Culture Abuse - Bay Dream
Culture Abuse - Bay Dream

Culture Abuse have been building their sound since 2013 and follow up their debut Peach, needing a peach. If you’ve been chomping at the bit for some straightforward guitar music, then you’ll find it on Bay Dream.

That title is pretty indicative of their sound on this record, mainly because there is a west-coast surf vibe lyrically, both in the words themselves and the way they’re delivered. ‘Rats In The Walls’ details a friend named Judy moving to the city, only to find bugs, rats and bills crushing that dream - presumably enticing her back to sunny California.

Slightly grunge and slightly slacker, the chords are hazy and the riffs are suitably lazy, but David Kelling has a soothing and melodic voice when aiming for higher notes, bringing comfort to tracks like ‘California Speedball’ he never strays into a guttural lurch or a roar. Sounding like Green album-era Weezer colliding with Suck It And See Arctic Monkey’s, ‘Calm E’ is the key track for this album, layering the buzzing guitars and maintaining steady momentum with some thumping drumming.

At times you’ll hear a piano, which seems at odds with the rest of the style, but it brings some levity to songs like ‘Dozy’, where Kelling sings about feeling uncomfortable with people staring at him (he has cerebral palsy). Similar themes appear on titular ‘Bay Dream’, but with more thought going to those around him.

Lacking pace in some areas, the album sometimes feels like it could do with more urgency to get the best out of the band. ‘Dave’s Not Here (I Got The Stuff Man)’ has sufficient pace, but misses the mark when it comes to the chorus, needing something more memorable. That’s an issue throughout, with pleasing work in all areas, but no song stealing your attention, even after multiple listens.

‘Bluebird On My Shoulder’ is an atmospheric closer, with a message of hope and optimism which sums up the band’s perspective on the rock genres they gently borrow from. “I might try just a little too hard” is the confession, but there is an uplifting feeling to a ponderously delivered melody.

This is an album you can’t hate but will be unlikely to fall in love with over and over. It moves around too sluggishly, something which all the positivity in the world can't make up for.

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