Release Date: June 15, 2018
Genre: Garage Rock
Review by Jared Stossel
There isn't an album I've listened to this year that quite signifies the start of summer like Culture Abuse's Bay Dream, the highly anticipated follow-up to their 2016 debut album, Peach. Since seeing Culture Abuse open for numerous acts in the Bay Area over the years, I've gotten to see them morph their sound and grow, with their growth being its most cogent with the release of Peach. The release of Bay Dream shows not only a continuation of their sound, but a stunning growth as songwriters and a collective.
Tracks like the eponymous opening number, "Bee Kind to the Bugs", and "California Speedball" hearken back to the days of early California surf and garage rock, with acts like The Beach Boys, The Ramones, while still bringing with it punk sensibilities of acts like The Clash and maintaining their own style of modern alternative rock.
It can be rather cliche for a person to say "there's no place like home". As someone whose been born and raised in the Bay Area his entire life, and having traveled to many other locations throughout the course of my life thus far, I can say that there really is no place like the San Francisco Bay Area. Vocalist David Kelling draws from his experience of relocating from the Bay Area to Los Angeles, and the lyrics powerfully convey someone who is dealing with change. That emotion and honesty translates well across the record as a whole.
It's quite an interesting contradiction if you think about it: upbeat rock music that evokes memories of summer days with lyrics that depict hardship and ever-changing chaos we encounter in life. But it works, and it makes Culture Abuse's Bay Dream the first great record of the summer.