John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees fame spits out another collection of would be hits under his Damaged Bug moniker. Cold Hot Plumbs is a synth workout with a distinctly analogue sound, packed with colour, texture and Dwyers famous ear for melody. Warm you plumbs on this. Out on CD and vinyl LP from Castel Face.
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- Cold Hot Plumbs by Damaged Bug
8/10 Robin Staff review, 11 June 2015
I guess this is as good a time as any to confess that I have never actually listened to a Thee Oh Sees record. Feels good to admit it. Please don’t take away my psych badge. I think we can all agree this little problem has never stopped me from comparing psych bands to Thee Oh Sees in the past.
Damaged Bug is a synth operation that tethers the more whimsical, vignette-oriented psych sound to an almost new wave danceability; at times ‘Cold Hot Plumb’ sounds physically intimidated, fixating on rhythms and fluid arpeggios, with “Jet In Jungle” buzzing its through a jaunty drumbeat. It’s kind of like listening to a very hyped John Maus play the music of Dan Deacon. Kind of. The suitably bouncy video game electronics of “The Frog” are offset with a drum pattern that’s recorded to sound of a different world, to make John Dwyer sound like an alien reaching down to a planet of human fools.
As with your average Thee Oh Sees record, and this I do know, there’s a pastiche of sound to lay into, with fourteen tracks that dance between soundscapes and pop songs, Dwyer offering little hints of continuous melodies on “Structure Image Extendor (Edit)” before rolling into the slickly whispered “Grape Basement”, which sounds sort of like a sunshine pop version of the new Unknown Mortal Orchestra record. There’s lots to go for here, and it’s all bathed in joy.
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