Oscillator Bug

Bursts of the Million

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Sounding like the machinations of a broken machine built to generate new wave tunes, the first outing from Zaid Maxwell's Oscillator Bug, Bursts of the Million, is a delightfully fractured monument to indie pop. With a sound that feels damaged but not quite broken, the album hums along with the erratic gate of a robot that's had coffee poured into its circuitry, leaving it functional but altered. On track after track, Oscillator Bug delivers songs that feel like reimaginings of familiar post-punk, new wave, and indie pop sounds from the uncanny valley, taking familiar styles and twisting them just enough that listeners must pause to wrap their heads fully around what's happening. With its jangly guitars and bouncy strings, "Nadya Lyon and the Imposing Peril of a Brave New World" feels like a Belle and Sebastian song that's been turned inside out like a dirty shirt, retaining all the shape and function of its twee predecessor while feeling somehow off thanks to its fuzzy, shorted-out drums and mechanical ticking sounds. Whether it's the guitars on "Solo" that seem to rapidly oscillate between being in and out of tune, or the end of "Big Snow," which seems to fade in and out of existence as if the tape were coming off the heads, there's always something odd that prevents the album from being a standard-issue indie pop record. For listeners looking for pop on the hallucinatory side of things, Oscillator Bug's Bursts of the Million makes for a fantastic escape from normalcy.

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