Two years ago, South Wales trio The Bug Club debuted with their 4-track 7″ EP Launching Moondream One, quickly followed by the 9-track mini-album Pure Particles, the 14-track full-length Green Dream in F#, and the live LP One Foot in Bethlehem with 14 new one-off tunes under the moniker of Mr Anyway’s Holey Spirits, with in between singles such as Intelectuals and Picture This!, in which one long track turned out to be made up of several short songs. That’s a lot of idiosyncratic firsts, and a lot of infectious output, especially considering that the band is touring almost continuously. Sam Willmett (guitar, vocals), Tilly Harris (bass, vocals) and Dan Matthew (drums) now show that things can get even crazier, both in size and content: here’s their 47-track double LP Rare Birds: Hour of Song. Expect a kind of concept album with short and straightforward ramshackle songs in their signature style and sound, with the usual humorous and clever lyrics, but more versatile (folk and psych influences make their appearance). Energetic songs like Marriage, Can Ya Change A Thing Like This? and We Can’t All Play Saxaphones are future classics and undoubtedly live favorites, but the beautiful and folky In My Hour Of Song also shows a more sensitive side. Most remarkable, however, are the theatrical spoken word skits (‘burds wurds’). It makes the new album as a whole an alienating listening experience, but it can only be appreciated that The Bug Club is increasingly following their own unique path.
Rare Birds: Hour of Song, produced by Tom Arthur Rees, is out now digitally and on vinyl 2LP through Bingo Records and We Are Busy Bodies.