I'll admit, I was more intrigued than engrossed by the last Damaged Bug album. John Dwyer lone wolf synth project has a nice ring to it but the debut never struck a chord over here. Guess it just took another swipe at the stack because just a year later the sophomore LP makes good on that early intrigue. Cold Hot Plumbs takes that unstoppable Dwyer energy and boils it down to a dry ice simmer. The tracks buzz and snap with analog charm, bubble with Krautrock propulsion and root themselves in some oddly insistent hooks, albeit ones that feel beamed in from the holodeck just in time for freeze dried snacks and Tang. The project lands on its feet from every angle, from the songs themselves to spot-on artwork by Robert Beatty, who gives it a faded psychedelic appeal. This is Dwyer playing with form, keeping the explosions tempered and knowing how to work an aesthetic for all its worth. In the end it pays off quite handsomely, feeling like a well needed blast of cold air after a sweltering year.
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