[sic] Magazine

Damaged Bug – Bunker Funk

Damaged Bug is the solo project of the ever-prolific John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees and the catchy Bunker Funk is his follow-up to 2015’s Cold Hot Plumbs, the third LP in four years under the Damaged Bug name. Similarly effervescent but more electro-driven than Thee Oh Sees, it’s a spacey album that dresses up Dwyer’s choppy grooves and trademark yelping in hand-made effects that misfire, twinkle and fizz from every corner of his rickety craft.

Squiggly electro noodling and modem noise drag “Bog Dash” down into experimentalism, for example, the krautadelic pull of a track like “Rick’s Jummy” later explored to the point of rhythmic garage-funk on the panning “Slay The Priest”. One of a series of track names that sound like they’ve been spat out by a random indie band generator, “Liquid Desert” is silky electro punk, chilly synthesisers and lasers FX letting “Ugly Gamma” drift psychedelically in turn. Coveting a made-up element similar to Tiberium from the Command & Conquer series, “Gimme Tamanthum” is little more than a gentle pulse of background cosmic radiation when it arrives.

Drum-machine patterns loop insistently behind Dwyer’s whispery vocal and falsetto shrieks on “The Cryptologist”, a flutter of wind instruments bringing visions of prog that the flighty instrumental “No One Notice The Fly” later concretes. “Unmanned Scanner” takes The Beatles as inspiration, applies Southern licks and then blasts off for the outer rings. More subtle, album highlight “Mood Slime” houses synthy oscillations and a restrained strut, Dwyer’s creepy spoken-word delivered to perfection. We all knew it was gonna happen, but with Bunker Funk it finally seems that Dwyer has gone interstellar, the lonely captain with a view of nought save the stars.

Best track: “Mood Slime”

~Bunker Funk is released March 10th via Castle Face.~