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Album Review: Beach Fossils - 'Bunny'

On April 11, 2019, Dustin Payseur sat down with Kyra Bruce to talk about the music behind Beach Fossils and touring. During it, he said, “I was writing these really happy pop songs and then after a while I was like, ‘You know I don’t feel great all the time and I want to write about that; I want to be able to write about how I’m feeling when I don’t feel good.’” He goes on to explain that “those somehow happened to be [their] biggest songs and the ones that people liked the most.” In Bunny, the band does not break from the vulnerability that brought them success.

I have to take a step back

I first heard the Beach Fossils because of Somersault. It was released on June 2, 2017, while I was preparing to start my second year of grad school. “Tangerine” popped up on my Sunday Chill playlist, leading me to “Down the Line.” However, I lost sight of the band until Alt Revue editor, Michael Le Torre, offered Bunny for review. After listening to Somersault again after almost six years, I jumped at the chance.

Bunny - My First Listen and First Reaction

“It is almost summer,” I wanted to scream. “I want a summer album.”

“Sleeping On My Own” started like it could be poppy and fresh. Yet as soon as the lyrics began, I was taken to an end-of-September vibe, after the ease of the midyear months gives way to fall responsibilities, cooler, rainy months, and shorter days. However, in the intro of “Run To The Moon,” I heard “Melissa” by Allman Brothers Band and thought, ok, they are using a classic rock band’s style, which screams Summer Album. But when Payeur’s voice broke through, it reminded me that I was listening to a lo-fi, dream pop, indie band.

I previewed the rest of the album, knowing that I would have to return to it with a refreshed attitude.

My Internal Conversation

In my Unknown Mortal Orchestra review, I wrote about vulnerability because sharing our internal emotional struggles seems to be a trend. That’s unfair. I should not be so flippant. Opening up and discussing our psychological battles signal great progressions in human nature as they push for better communication and understanding. Still, I cannot move away from feeling that much of the music released this year is about struggle, especially compared to last year, during which musicians and bands prepared for their first full tour season since the outbreak of Covid.

Is that just because I am struggling more than last year? My mind asked me. Am I just seeing what I am feeling? Or is it really a trend?

“It doesn’t matter,” I said out loud. “Review the album for what it is. Not what you want it to be.” Disassociation seemed to be my choice for dealing with my internal conflicts.

My Second and Third Listen

I could not stray from the feeling that this album was slow and moody, pretty much what I have always heard about one of my favorite bands, Radiohead. However, what does it say about an album in which “Tough Love” is one of the fastest and most upbeat songs?

A Conversation with a Friend

“Maybe you should write about how it doesn’t fulfill the idea of Summer Album. Look at the world right now. Is there anything to be happy about?”

That is very true, I thought. Talking to my therapist, I have told her many times that thinking about all the problems in the United States and the world causes me major anxiety.

Then I started to think about music. While a photograph captures an image, music captures time and feeling. When done properly, a musician is an emotional historian. Those not afraid to share their vulnerability will be able to give a more honest perspective. Truth.

The Truth . . .

is the new Beach Fossils album, Bunny, is not what I want, but it may be what we need. Unlike the aforementioned Radiohead, this album reflects an individual living in our present world. Life is a struggle because of relationships, stresses, shootings, wars, viruses, and political strife. Every way we turn, there is a different conflict simultaneously happening. The mood is somber.

Although I fought this album from the first listen, I can appreciate that this band has stayed true to their form. They have captured their style and produced a tight album. They pull from some of classic rock’s greatest hits to give the Summer Album that 2023 deserves. (Check out the beginnings of “Run To The Moon,” “Don’t Fade Away,” and “Waterfall.” Also, listen to the rhythm of the lyrics of “(Just Like The) Setting Sun.” Maybe you’ll catch even more than I did.)

So, there it is. Here and now in our world. Beach Fossils and the Summer of 2023.

Final Thought: I am excited to see what people think of this one. While I wanted something more upbeat, I believe the general population will love this album. If I learned anything from being alive right now, it is that I never really know what people want and will like. I can only share my thoughts.

Favorite Songs: “Run To The Moon,” “Tough Love,” and “Numb”

Rating - 4.5/5

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