The Bug Club: Rare Birds – Hour Of Song [Album Review]

The Bug Club
Rare Birds: Hour Of Song
Bingo/We Are Busy Bodies [2023]

The Fire Note headphone approved

“My bathtub has three taps.. hot, cold and Bach chorale. Balance is hard to achieve generally but the human voice and cold are an unlikely easy pairing. Given the choice I’d pick cold music over hot emptiness most days, but this isn’t most days, it’s the only one that actually exists. Hot please!” This quote is from “Burds Wurds – Hot Emptiness,” one of the 23 poet-like spoken-word tracks mixed into The Bug Club’s new 47-song sophomore record, Rare Birds: Hour Of Song. This Welsh trio pushes the boundaries of indie music with this loosely conceptual record, supported by a plethora of smart indie rock, folk, garage, and psychedelic tracks. The result is an intriguing listen that only improves with each subsequent spin.

I will warn you that at first, the spoken “Burds Wurds” might be jarring to your ears, but they quickly blend into the music and act as the perfect setup for their following track. Oddly enough, Rare Birds also works well if you create a digital playlist with just the actual songs, because the strength of The Bug Club lies in their songwriting. Every genre is represented here, with plenty of indie gold reminiscent of The Clean, a standout being “We All Can’t Play Saxophones.” “Mister, Do You Have The Time For Sittin’?” has a perfect Beatlesque harmony to it, while “The Loudest Violin” rocks with its full blown guitar. “Can Ya Change A Thing Like This?” has an X-style punk rock vibe, where Sam Willmett and Tilly Harris engage in dueling lyrics, which is a standard formula that The Bug Club deploys as their musical chemistry shines.

The Bug Club presents intelligent lyrics akin to Pavement, humorous attitudes reminiscent of The Moldy Peaches, and a psychedelic/folk-rock vibe reminiscent of the classic English band, The Soft Boys. This blend of styles and their effortless delivery, along with memorable choruses, provide Rare Birds with significant replay value. The Bug Club demonstrates that the frontiers of music are limitless, and artists can consistently transcend genre conventions. While not every track may appeal to all listeners, those who appreciate the experimental aspects of indie music will discover this album to be a truly unique and rewarding experience.

“Marriage” / “We All Can’t Play Saxophones” / “Mister, Do You Have The Time For Sittin’?”

The Soft Boys / Pavement / The Moldy Peaches

Green Dream In F# (2022/2023)

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Thomas Wilde

1 thought on “The Bug Club: Rare Birds – Hour Of Song [Album Review]”

  1. This is deserving of your 4 and a half headphones. It was love at first listen for me with ‘Blues Magician’ and ‘Short and Round’ songs first sinking their teeth deep into my brain for eternity. Many other songs from their past records have now joined them.

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