Album Review: Beach Fossils – ‘Bunny’

Posted: by The Editor

The songs on Bunny relish moments that slip away like a beer at a party, leaving you wondering how some things appear to begin and end in a flash. Beach Fossils’ most recent album since 2017 is reflective while still possessing the daydreamy lyricism and catchy bass lines they are known for. Bunny really resonated for me, as Beach Fossils was one of the very few bands that became a casualty of a breakup, and returning to them now, this album has left me feeling wiser and grateful for previous memories associated with this band, and hopeful to revisit their older albums. It feels saturated in nostalgia while simultaneously feeling grown in its lyrics and melodies, which is something I think early fans of Beach Fossils will understand. I, personally, struggle with nostalgia—it’s easier than feeling a deep emptiness within yourself, and longing for something else is more pleasant than solving the problem in front of you, because that means actually putting in work. I’ve put in a lot of work from the years ago I first listened to this band, and it’s apparent Beach Fossils has as well. Bunny is mature, and the sound on it feels like it has grown as I’ve grown other the years: vulnerable and curious about what’s to come. 

“Don’t Fade Away” examines a former relationship and how intimacy can be a painkiller. It is ripe with adolescence, that youthful feeling when something ends, and everything is new ahead of you, but you almost feel stuck in time. The tension of that feeling drives this album. Still, the narrative tracks on Bunny touch on a plethora of topics, ranging from a family member having cancer to newfound fatherhood, contrasted against the monotonous joy that is a simple task, like smoking in the car with friends. These topics are a testament to the vulnerability and growth this band has under its belt.

When I first listened to Beach Fossils years ago, I was romanticizing places I’ve never been, places where a surf rock soundtrack seemed natural. I romanticized living with someone specific in a van and sand on the car seats. I didn’t know at the time that I really would eventually live in a beach town, where every day was muggy and felt like living in someone’s mouth, where a relationship with someone who introduced me to Beach Fossils would end. I would experience heartbreak that, for the first time, felt like I might not survive. I would enter a graduate program a complete mess and journal about the things he said to me, in case one day I wanted to give it a second shot: “I only love you when you’re around me,” or “don’t write this in your poetry,” but what can I say? Nothing is sacred. Now, I’m listening to Bunny in New York, not the beach town where I lived alone. In New York, I have roommates for the first time in years and have to find ways to hide my depression. So, I water it down. I make it more palatable for people to bear witness. Before New York, I would drink wine after my poetry classes and sprawl on my balcony which overlooked palm trees, and allow myself to contort into something unrecognizable in my ache as I cried to “Down the Line.” Not the vision I had for myself while listening to surf rock, but breakups are an ocean—they swallow you whole and leave you bloated, unrecognizable.

The lyrics on Bunny are vulnerable and the album, as a whole, combines the best parts of Beach Fossils—melancholic elements to upbeat rhythm, inspired by the cocktail that is indie-pop meets post-punk apparent on their older albums. “Dare Me” is my favorite off Bunny. “You said ‘if you get yourself together, you’d be alright’ but nothing feels better than wasting time” and isn’t that the truth? Balancing a new career and carving out time for hobbies and friends when all my friends seem to be getting married, moving, or having kids only seems to ignite the desire to detonate my entire life and start over somewhere, just wasting time, and what a cliche that is. It’s not lost on me that this song references killing a cliche, but it’s quips like this that Dustin Payseur balances in songwriting. This album is an ideal soundtrack to play in the background of summer debauchery, whether it’s skipping stones on a lake under constellations or driving a shitkicker car to another backyard bonfire. I’m happy listening to Beach Fossils now and knowing that things get better, but that just comes with age and flailing in rough waters for a bit. I hope we don’t have to wait six more years to see what Beach Fossils has in store.

Disappointing / Average / GoodGreat / Phenomenal

Bunny is out now.

Ryleigh Wann | @wannderfullll

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