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Beach Fossils Sharpens Their Sound On New Album Bunny

It’s only fair for me to admit that I was pretty late to the Beach Fossils party—eight years late to be exact—I only started actively listening to them in 2018, but I did do my homework, and I got familiarized with their entire discography in due time like a regular, not-obsessive human being should. And thank God I did, because their music is always the type that makes you feel like the main character of life, and I’m an only child so that is exactly what I am.

Though kind of sad when it comes to lyrics and preferred topics, the Brooklyn-native band’s alt-rock will inevitably pump you up. Their biggest song to date, “Down the Line,” talks about how depressing and boring life can be, but over a beat that makes you bump your head and pretend like you know interpretative dance, you know? And that’s how it works with most of their songs; you can’t just listen to their music, because you will involuntarily be submerged in the feeling.

With Bunny, their first album since the 2017 LP Somersault, Dustin, Jack, Tommy and Anton, stay within that lane, while also bringing a new atmosphere to their artistry. Like a lot of their releases, the opening track “Sleeping On My Own” sounds like a song by The Smiths, with simple but effective chord progressions and soft, soothing vocals. It also follows the existential dread theme that their older songs have. On a different but still similar way, one of the project’s singles, “Dare Me”, is more like a modern shoegaze track, close to the sound of bands like Alvvays and The Growlers, with topics leaning towards coming-of-age tales and young love.

Some of the previously released singles from Bunny bring a slightly more optimistic outlook. “Run To The Moon,” probably my favorite song of the album, is a cute poem about the beauty of living a chaotic and sometimes messy life, and of falling in love with someone that is okay with that. “Might be too depressed, lost in A.D.D. / You’re too optimistic, but that’s alright with me,” and “only you can pull me back in, pull me back into myself” sings lead singer Dustin Payseur. “Seconds,” the last solo track that came out before the full album’s release, is also a short love song that acknowledges how much faster time goes by when you have someone beside you.

“(Just Like The) Setting Sun,” sounds like it came out straight out of a 80s or 90s movie, and alludes to the band’s time in California, as opposed to how most of their songs bring up their hometown of Brooklyn. It’s a little slower than the album’s singles, but just as engaging and embracing, and it sort of reminds me of Simple Minds’ “Don’t You”, the main song from The Breakfast Club, since both hold a looking-forward-to-the-future undertone.

One song that sets a different tone among the rest is “Feel So High” – and it actually feels like the title says (we are indeed talking about weed in this review! Sorry, mom). It’s a groovier, almost psychedelic song with murmurs of ’60s hits, and it gives the listener a break from the philosophical questions and reflections. I guess it’s supposed to be more of a vibes song than a content kind of song, and that works because it’s fun.

Another one of my favorites is also a standout musically from the rest. “Waterfall,” is the track closest to a ballad, a love song, the kind you would slow dance to at your prom—says someone who is not American and did not have a prom—but it’s at least what I imagine the songs sound like from what I’ve seen on TV.

To close the album off, “Numb,” goes back to being aligned to their heavily NYC indie rock identity, sounding like it came directly from around fifty years ago, if it wasn’t for the crispy clean production. In a way, some people might consider this like a confirmation that Bunny is just more of the same, and in a way it is! But to me, it’s more like Beach Fossils have found their sound and they have mastered what makes them who they are, and why would they stop doing what works?

Bunny is out now.

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