Bugz In The Attic has always been many things to many people. A modern day JBs, mysterious lynchpins of one of the most progressive scenes in dance music, masters of the remix with a knack for turning the mainstream into the masterful, and creators of one of 2004s stand out singles in 'Booty La La'. Never, however, in their ten-year history have they managed to put aside the inherent issues of nine man-deep musical opinion, personal differences, alter-egos, and just plain egos to create a concise LP of original Bug-funk.
"Back In The Dog House" is the boiled down brew of over 90 demos that the Bugz have variously been working on together, individually, secretly and obsessively since Paul 'Seiji' Dolby, Alex Phountzi, Kaidi Tatham, Cliff Scott, Daz I-Kue and Orin 'Afronaught' Walters first met over a drum machine at the latter's attic/studio/den in the late 90s. One listen and it becomes clear the record represents some of the most soul-drenched and low-slung sweet soul music and gritty house to have hit since Nuyorican Soul's landmark album of the same period. While the MAW opus was steeped in a musical history that perhaps held its more interesting experimental moments back, however, Bugz In The Attic let loose with an array of largely unsung collaborators to hone an album that works best as a whole but is still littered with hooky singles â€" the direct opposite of most of today's dance longplayers.
First single 'Move Aside' features Bembe Segue on vocals and sets the stall out for the album's overall feel â€" conscious songwriting, slamming old school b-boy drums, sirens and layer after layer of raw musical emotion. Bembe also appears on the Rick James-ian 'I'm Gonna Letcha', the sassy attitude strutting 'Redhanded' and undoubted album highlight and future single 'Consequences' with its unbridled sunshine good-times boogie.
The authenticity on display across the sixteen cuts is the product of each member's dedication to the music they obsess over and the mastery of their craft as each Bug brings a different dimension to the mix; Mark G-Force and Matt Lord completed the eight-piece line up with their midas-touch programming nouse at the turn of the millenium. That touch can be witnessed all over the likes of 'Once Twice' previously available at the turn of the year on a well-received and highly collectable white label album teaser. From all of Back In The Dog House's gems it is this that best reflects the benefits of the eight man production line as it continues to build and build into a latino-tinged burner with the kind of depth that a one-man outfit couldn't hope to achieve.
Elsewhere, Michelle Escoffery (sister of the legendary Sean) appears on the heavy bass workout 'No More' - a surging and seductive riddim that rubs up against the most delicate song the album offers in fine style. Original Bug cohort and live singer Yolande lends her touch to 'Happy Days' while Don Ricardo steps up to nail the album closer (bonus gem Booty La La notwithstanding) 'Worls Hurt' with one of those timeless conscious hooks that used to be the preserve of legends such as Massive Attack and Robert Owens but Bugz make look as effortless as any. An end-of-night classic in the making.
Bugz will take to the road over the summer to unveil a stunning new live show that will help complete their rejuvination as a group and seal their fate as standard bearers for a fusion of sounds that will unite dancefloors, headz and soul boys while effortlessly opening them up to universal appeal. Get the bug before it gets you.