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Shady Bug – Lemon Lime Review

A cluster bomb of everything I love about rock - slowly exploding apart over an album

Earlier this year I introduced you to Shady Bug with their excellently raucous rock single ‘Make It Up’. It was filled with catchy hooks and a dissonant guitar/vocal mesh that make things feel skittish and off-kilter. Now releasing their full album last week, ‘Lemon Lime’ follows this up with plenty of awesome tracks to rock out too.

The single ‘Make It Up’ opens the album perfectly, introducing you to Shady Bug’s world of grungy, surfer rock with a millennial meh of the vocals and delivery of its slower sections. This kind of vaporwave empty misery is a wonderful quirk to Shady Bug’s vibe and ‘Lucky’ pushes that home further. In the breaks and hooks there are two different riffs that sit just slightly off tune from each other. The vocals smoosh to a growling whisper and its clear nothing is well in their world – but it all fits together somehow beautifully. I personally describe this by using a Soft Cell album title – ‘The State of the Art of Falling Apart’. Some bands hit that vibe bang on the head and Shady Bug is one of them.

Shady Bug

Country twangs swing in for the soft slow ‘Whining’ which then erupts into a thrashing mud slide of grungy guitars riding riff on riff over each other. ‘Canada Dry’ feels like a full-on extension to the previous track – their version of a 2-minute rock version of Bjork’s ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ in terms of tonal shifts. ‘Spooky’ instead opts for clunky guitar noises and out of step percussion for the first two thirds before euphorically exploding into a rousing instrumental finale. I’ve spoken very sonically about how this album feels and rages in places but it feels so intrinsic to getting into Shady Bug’s jam – if you plug in, you’ll ride the waves with them.

‘Blow’ and ‘Lost My Head’ are two of the more straight forward and more directly melodic tracks. Both are singles in waiting and are great tracks to start with if you haven’t heard the opening track yet. They showcase the bands flick of a switch approach to emotion, energy and tone, but in an easier way. ‘Flood Song’ is perhaps my favourite song on the album though. It channels everything I love about 90’s female fronted grunge into a superb piece of art. That lets ‘Flake’ move Shady Bug slightly towards the more psychedelic rock space as they introduce flute solos into the mix. It also poses some interesting lyrics too. I felt the album was constantly balancing a lemon/lime or this/that choice to ponder over and this track addresses it with an overarching question. ‘All my favourite things, am I afraid of these?’ It feels like the album is about embracing all of you, even the bits that feel out of time or place and that bares through in the rough, but oh so fully in it riffs that intentionally clash in sections.

Shady Bug has utterly wowed me with ‘Lemon Lime’. It’s a complete cluster bomb of things that sit awkwardly together, made to get along by the sheer will and commitment of the binding of it all. This is the type of rock I love and long may it reign.

Recommended track: Flood Song

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Shady Bug - Lemon Lime



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