Bugs ingeniously exploited the distorted vibrations they could tweak out
of domestic hi-fi gear. With such primitive resources it's clear that there
was some sharp creative judgement going on, because none of these ten tracks
ever sound like two teenage herberts mucking around with biscuit tins and
their Dad's stereogram. There are superficial echoes of This Heat and early
Cabaret Voltaire but the skilfully layered textures of wireless interference,
manipulated voices and faltering rhythmic clumps do justify the claim to
a unique Storm Bugs sound. The track Window Shopping sucks you backwards
through a time tunnel into the dawning Thatcher era, its clattering voices
crowds of consumerist drones bustle through Oxford Street in the 1980 Christmas
Sound Projector, Ninth Issue, 2001
Storm Bugs are an anomaly.
How could such sounds, radically challenging the accepted texture of electronic
music, have been recorded over 20 years ago? And how come nobody has ever
heard of them? The tracks on Let's Go Outside and Get It Over...
exhibit Storm Bugs' spacious, reverberating grittiness. Howled vocals shift
from front to background in the midst of industrial pounding percussion
loops, urgent echoing monotones and an array of tinny sound effects. The
quiet moments on these songs are underlayed by disturbing mechanical creeks
and muted primal thuds that evoke the cynical futurism of Fritz Lang or
George Orwell. As complex and foreign as much of these recordings sound,
the hand-made, DIY ethic of the group's production is distinctly present.
I first became aware of the
Storm Bugs due to their inclusion on the recent (and wonderfully dodgy)
I Hate The Pop Group compilation... ...they were spiritual forefathers
to Oval and today's Clicks & Cuts generation... ...I thrive on this
kind of stuff and this is like uncovering a lost NWW album; my only complaint
would be that these guys probably have enough material to fill five CDs.