[sic] Magazine

Damaged Bug – Bug On Yonkers

Bug On Yonkers is the first we’ve heard from John Dwyer’s electro-driven side-project since the catchy perversion of 2017’s Bunker Funk. Similarly effervescent to his Oh Sees day job, but full of synth abuse and krautadelic rhythms true to that album’s title, this is a vehicle best suited for squiggly electronics and proggy pulses, so it’s a curious one to aim at heart of 60s/70s experimental cult figure Michael Yonkers (most recently known for his work with Minneapolis indie/punk group The Blind Shake), the album comprised entirely of covers drawn from his expansive psych-cum-folk-cum-noise catalogue. Luckily you needn’t be familiar with the source material to enjoy the ride, because – confirmed fan that he is – Dwyer is only too happy to make the introduction, reflecting on and reimagining tracks that have inspired him over the years with the help of many of his regular crew in tow.

Accordingly some material is torn up and pieced back together with a rough stitching made of squelchy lasers and scratchy FX, others relatively faithfully reproduced out of love of the original. Dwyer and long-time cohort Brigid Dawson consequently harmonise over tender fuzzed-out lullabies, Dawson taking the lead on the twinkling, sax-abetted “Sunflower”, which hovers towards the ambient end of drone, the melancholy tones of the Velvet Underground evoked elsewhere. The killer strut and psychedelic overtones of “Microminiature Love” remain intact though, weirdo backing vocals challenging the sanity. Leaving the electro entirely behind, the snarling proto-punk/Glam-indebted “The Thunder Speaks” simply let’s its raw power shine, just as the feedback of anti-capitalist anthem “Sold America” anti-capitalist anthem is treated to some cosmic afterburners.

At the other end of the spectrum, the marauding “Lovely Gold” may as well just be a Dwyer track; you certainly wouldn’t question its drum-machines and manic chatter, passages of blown-out noise only perhaps betraying its true author. Listening to Dwyer become Yonkers is never less than interesting though and is often fascinating, Bug On Yonkers a very decent little lovechild of an homage.

~Bug On Yonkers is released 20th June 2020 via Castle Face as part of the rescheduled Record Store Day.~