Album Review: Bugs in the Dark – Hang It On the Wall EP

Bugs in the Dark

Hang It On The Wall EP

Like a kid who realizes that mohawks, studded-vests and anarchy aren’t the only way to make a statement, Bugs in the Dark’s Hang It On The Wall EP is an exercise in subtlety. Maybe it comes from experience or the four years spent between releases, but they’ve discovered how to maintain intensity without obvious abrasiveness.
 
This Brooklyn trio is comprised of dueling guitarist/vocalist couple Karen and Zach Glass, with Rich Crescenti on drums. Like many girl-guy fronted bands, Bugs in the Dark are frequently (and appropriately) likened to the Pixies and Sonic Youth. Preceded by 2008’s Grand Avenue and 2007’s living room-recorded Shake Shake, Hang It On The Wall demonstrates marked artistic growth. Though only four tracks long, this EP is almost 20 minutes of uninterrupted awesome. Each song fades and organically transforms into the next, like an intimate live performance (not a douchey jam session, mind you).
 
The first track, ‘Serpents and Wine’ shows off the softer side of the Jekyll & Hyde-esque Karen. She croons, howls and whispers with the prowess of an 80s rock goddess; sans cheese, but with hints of Karen O. The Aman Ellis remix of this track bookends the EP and works as a standalone electro single. It’s one of the very rare remixes that A) isn’t just the same song with a dance beat in the background, as if recorded next to a club or B) a terrible cacophony of ill-fitting elements.
 
Zach takes lead on the standout ‘Picture’. The haunting roughness of his voice isn’t immediately comparable to any other artist; an anomaly in today’s copycat music market. Karen joins in on the chorus, making hearts burst with a simultaneously agonizing and joyous harmony. ‘Metal Bird’ adds another spoonful of sugar to the Bugs’ already-sweetened sound; guitars swirling around Karen’s girlish vocals, trance-like and whimsical.
 
Having just come off a European tour and spot at Halifax Pop Explosion, the release of Hang It On The Wall is just the next step in what will likely be a huge upcoming year for Bugs in the Dark. Check them out now to ensure your “I heard them before you” hipster points when they blow up in your town.
 

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About J2

What happens when you're a wordsy music aficionado who works for NXNE, CMW, HPX, Olio Music Festival, The JUNOs and Polaris Music Prize? You spend all of your free time blogging about it... Follow on Twitter if you're so inclined: @HearPlugged

Posted on November 15, 2011, in Album Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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