On the very first song “Chinatown,” California punk group Culture Abuse lay out their manifesto of sorts: “Gotta gotta gotta live the way you wanna.” On their debut album, Peach, the band lives the way the want and makes music just exactly the way they want to. The songs start with a fuzzy garage punk foundation, and then adds everything from catchy power-pop choruses, aggressive almost hardcore sections, and some keyboard and string arrangements for good measure. And while there might be a lot of different parts going into this thing, the end result is a fun, cohesive, and catchy album.
Immediately after “Chinatown,” the band comes in with “Jealous,” which if you can make out the fuzzed-out vocals on your first listen, you will easily be singing along to it on your next listen. This theme continues throughout the whole album. For being a debut full length, the band already seems to have perfected their brand of swaggering garage punk. The drums are at times all over the place, but consistently keep the tempo of the songs going. The guitar buzzes along, mostly playing typical power chord arrangements, but always keeping the songs sounding fun. And when the guitar goes off and plays something different, it grabs your attention. The vocals are just as fuzzy as the guitar, which can be a little off-putting at first, but it’s easy to warm up to them, and eventually it feels as if the vocals are just another instrument adding to the overall feel of the songs.
Some of the songs don’t stand out as much as others. Tracks like “Don’t Worry,” and “Turn It Off,” aren’t quite as catchy as the others, and they don’t have anything else interesting going on to really make an impression. But then you get songs like “Yuckies” or the aforementioned “Jealous,” which are just catchy masterpieces to make up for it.
Peach is a fantastic debut for Culture Abuse. It sounds like they already know their sound and aren’t afraid to play around with it. As can be expected from a debut album, not every song is a winner, but the ones that are definitely make this an album worth checking out.