Damaged Bug

Hubba Bubba

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Imagining a world where This Heat and Can developed their sound in the Bay Area rather than Europe, John Dwyer puts down the guitar in favor of an arsenal of synthesizers on Hubba Bubba, the debut album of his Damaged Bug solo project. While the sound is more electronic, with churning synths weaving their way around ramshackle beats, the album has an analog, handmade feeling that places it far from the lockstep polish of dance music. Free from the shackles of digital sequencing, with elements moving in and out of time with one another, the album feels distinctly broken. In the hands of Dwyer, however, what could be perceived as the album's weak point proves to be its greatest strength, providing an element of rhythmic uncertainty to the predictability we've come to expect from things like drum machines. In a lot of ways, the album makes a strong case for Dwyer as an auteur. Whether he's tackling garage rock, psych pop, or post-punk, Dwyer has a way of taking a sound and infusing it with a veneer of sweat and sunshine, allowing his music to shine through despite its grimy, lo-fi patina. So, is Hubba Bubba a messy album? Of course it is. Is that a bad thing? Quite the opposite, actually. Damaged Bug is a celebration of the strange and often unstable world of analog electronics, and while there's considerably less "crash and bang" to the project than Dwyer's work with Coachwhips and Thee Oh Sees, it has a scuzziness that fans of the prolific noisemaker's other work will appreciate.

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