Still some releases flying in under the radar of 2019 and this ramshackle roller from Itchy Bugger is hitting the crumpled pop spot pretty hard. The band is the solo excursion of Josh from Diät, Idiota Civilizzato, the Love Triangle, etc. Though, those other bands serve little in the way of reference points for what’s to come on Itchy Bugger’s sophomore LP. Far from the post-punk dreariness of Diät or the hardcore concerns of much of the others, this is a pop record at heart, but dressed in the chewed and glued aesthetics of Stray Trolleys, The Deep Freeze Mice, and Television Personalities, among other disassembled visions of perpendicular pop. There’s a homespun, kitchen-recorded quality to the songs that’s intimate despite its sometimes-hardscrabble humor keeping the listener at arm’s length.
I’d missed out on the debut, that one flew way under the radar, but that’s an even better reason not to let the second instalment from the band slip by. Itchy Bugger can sometimes feel like an indulgence in cheeky charms, but then he wipes away the winks and shaves down the smarm for some real touching and disarmed entries to the squirm-pop canon. Atop a teetering beat he gets solemn in “Have You Seen John?” and wistful on “An Adorable Graveyard” eschewing the album’s irreverent shrugs and giving the record a deeper dig than expected. This one’s also likely to disappear without a trace as well. No matter what radars he’s flying under Itchy Bugger doesn’t seem to be in the business of large runs. Leave the lotion behind, let your guard down and get into the Itch on this one.
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