B-side infused alt-country.
Releasing her debut album this month, Sara Bug has an interesting take on how she merges alternative rock into more traditional country vibes. With artists like Phoebe Bridgers and Angel Olsen leading the way with this hazy messy rock style, Sara Bug brings a new voice to the table, albeit for a brief stay.
When the album is firing on all cylinders, Sara Bug offers a sassy bite to her alt-country stylings. This means a twist of baby voice-over electric guitar twangs and some cute violins. Dusty drums and minimal basslines chug away behind Sara but the idea with the album is to provide maximal minimalism. Only two tracks break the three-minute mark, three don’t make two minutes and rarely do tracks utilise the full rock sound. When they do on tracks like ‘Rosebank’, ‘Purgatory’ and the excellent ‘Doo Doo Song’, I’m reminded a little of Lisa Germano. There is a DIY feel to the album that I think adds a lot of charm.
That DIY ramshackle nature can also hinder the album too. Several songs suffer from a B-side vibe. By that I mean, they feel like collages of full tracks that have been snipped down to quick ditties. ‘The Beholder’ and cheesy country outro ‘Back in Nashville’ are over way before I wanted them to be. ‘Lost Track’ has a plodding 1-2 drum and keyboard plod that is excessively mechanical (although I think that’s the point) and as the longest song, it outstays its welcome. It is a strange thing to say but I wanted the shorter songs a bit longer and the longest song shortened. The whole thing is over in under 25 minutes. I’m not fussy over album length but Sara Bug is quite ambitious in the breadth of styles she tackles. We go from crunchy sassy rock to full-on Dolly Parton with singer-songwriter misery in between. The brevity of time we stay in each phase keeps things fresh. For me personally, I felt like I didn’t have enough time to connect with each track.
Sara Bug definitely has something. The unrefined nature of her style is a positive but it is difficult to pull it off effortlessly and cohesively. As a result, the album feels quite hit and miss with different styles and degrees of country music confusing the mood further. The potential is here. I get the impression that with a few tweaks, there are a few absolute classics in the mind palace to be committed to record.
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