Upon my first listen of Peach, the debut album by San Francisco’s Culture Abuse, there was one particular line that struck me deep: “I never thought about my parents getting older/ but now I think about it everyday” – from “Peace On Earth”
This line, smack dab in the middle of a deliciously upbeat garage rock nugget, ever so simply expresses the universal fear of mortality, but it does so on the sly — hiding the dark observation inside of the record’s catchiest track. The song (which doesn’t even break the minute and a half mark) paints a picture of going from apathy to anxiety caused by a life changing event, but rather than get stuck in the muck of an unpleasant thought, it shakes the panic right out of you.
Effortlessly bringing together garage rock, punk, shoegaze and even a bit of ’80’s new wave in a melodic swarm of ear pleasing goodness, this quick little burst of a record has the stage diving energy of FIDLAR and the self-deprecating wit of Morrissey. Fuzz, distortion, and background noise sometimes garble vocalist David Kelling’s words, but once unearthed the lyrics are introspective, angsty, yet uplifting in the end.
“Everybody’s having good times/ I tried to/ I know you don’t believe me/ Now I don’t talk at all/ Uncomfortable uncomfortable” – from “Turn It Off”
“Why can’t you just let people live/ just how they wanna live/ and live your own/ I think I hate you/ I think I hate you just a little bit” – from “Yuckies”
… Well, maybe “uplifting” is too strong a word. Kelling won’t be writing any self help books any time soon, but the message is still a positive one.
This isn’t a “life sucks and then you die” kinda record, but a “life can suck, but you learn to deal with it and not care what people think” sort. And the band throws into the noisy mix the occasional harmonica, or string section to remind you that though the lyrics can be maudlin, the music and the message are far from it… plus, you can mosh to it.