Dave Davies

Bug

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Bug finds Dave Davies looking back, returning to a comfortable, familiar sound. No, not the garage rock of early Kinks records, nor the precious English pop that marked his initial foray into solo recordings in the mid-'60s. No, he's returning to the album-oriented hard rock that marked the Kinks' Low Budget and his solo albums from the early '80s -- which is only appropriate, since it is his first album of new material in nearly 20 years. Even so, it's startling that apart from the clean contemporary production, the album feels like it could have been released the same year as Chosen People, but once that shock wears off, it's easy to appreciate Bug as a real solid collection of arena-rattlers, earnest mid-tempo rockers, and ballads. There is the occasional change-up -- the surf guitars on "The Lie!," for instance -- but this is pretty much a straight-ahead rock record, fueled by good guitar playing and very sincere, soul-baring lyrics. This is probably the purest album Dave Davies has yet released, the one closest to capturing his personality -- there are no commercial considerations to the production or the material, the performances are sharp, the songs are solid. Yes, it's primarily for the converted die-hards at this point, but that was always the case with Dave's solo albums -- and those who still pay attention will find Bug a worthy comeback.

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