Advance Review and Artist Spotlight - Bug Hunter

Bug Hunter - The Rough Draft Advance Review

I am primarily a fiction writer, and I am almost three weeks into National Novel Writing Month. That means story structure has been on my mind as I am making that hard push to the final climax after hitting anthills, road bumps, and the rolling hills of southeastern Ohio. Multiple moments of rising and falling actions. Tension and release. I am telling you this because I think that a band like Bug Hunter, with an album titled The Rough Draft, can appreciate it.

Being brand new to this Seattle band, I did not know what to expect. However, “Dear McCracken” introduces new listeners to their sound immediately. Musically minimalistic, the bands’ lyrically heavy sound storyteller abilities reminded me back to the strong 90’s pop alternative bands Oasis, Barenaked Ladies, Green Day, and Weezer. I liked the sound, and I had a feeling I was going to enjoy the album.

The second song reminded me of Frente!, an Australian alternative band that people knew for the remake of the New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle.” (I was a fan way back when because I loved Angie Hart’s voice.) Titled “Point to Prove (I was an Ugly Child),” this song hints at the complexity of the self-deprecating humor that is pushed throughout the album. Is it a sad song or is it an inspirational journey of the narrator’s climb out of his younger, basement-dwelling status? I choose to believe the latter, and I think the music backs up. Especially when it is followed by “Piano Teacher.” If you can’t laugh with the band, you are missing the whole experience. “I’m not the next all-start/I’m hardly an artist.” However, there are “No signs of stopping.” And I don’t want them to.

“Go with the Flow” is another catchy song with a pop sound that reminded me of Cake from the 90’s.

“Disco! In the Panic Room” is the song that gets me dancing at a show. A harder sound that is post-punk, post-post-grunge with a little James Murphy lyrical humor. I imagine looking up at the stage as Bug Hunter plays. It is supposed to sound slightly angry, but I can’t help smiling at the frontman having too much fun singing. It is definitely my favorite song on the album.

“Baby Teeth” brings us back into the 90’s sounds that will attract those twenty-some adults who remember listening to their parents’ music. “Be Glad I Love You (Go to Bed)” is a sweet song, and “Listen to Your Mom” is a powerfully climatic song for the album. Pay attention to the lyrics. It gives all of Bug Hunter’s humor substance.

Although we are given two bonus songs, “Deserve Me” is the official last song of the album. The goofy lessons from earlier in the album culminates in a reflective that no longer uses self-deprecating humor. “I’m finally ready to admit.”

The last two songs add to the enjoyment of the album. “Gulf Coast” is a little angry with some Spanish flare, and although I legitimately like all of the songs on the album, it might be my second favorite, at least in my early listens. “Boogie Pete” further showcases the band's storytelling ability. It reminds me of a song that a Phish Phan would write for their favorite band. (I am a Phan, so that’s a compliment.) A funny song that an audience can dance to.

Closing Thoughts - On a day when I decided to take a break from my NaNoWriMo project, I’m glad that I did something productive and listened to this album. The Rough Draft is a well-crafted and captures the rising and following action that audiences seek. I will be playing this at work and while I work for years to come.

Rating 4.5 out of 5

-Jesse R. Stowe

Artist Spotlight Bug Hunter

1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?