It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Kevin Martin, but he’s not been idle – and in ‘Angels & Devils’ he has delivered an album that is absolutely essential listening, despite being far from comfortable when you listen to it. The words ‘apocalyptic’ and ‘visionary’ may be overused in album reviews – but are not out of place here, as The Bug explores the corners of the mind to stunning effect. For this is not an album you’ll want to spend time with on the sofa. It’s edgy, paranoid, hyperactive, full of pounding dread and anxiety – pretty much reflecting the state of the world as we see it on news reports, and as such is definitely not for shrinking violets! And yet there are some sections where Martin confounds your expectations. The ‘Angels’ half of the album calms the beats but keeps a sense of dread in its slow moving harmonies, winding things in for the aural onslaught of the second half, the ‘Devils’. ‘Pandi’ especially simmers with tension, a grand organ sound compromised with dark, brooding harmonies and atmospherics. When the explosion kicks in Flowdan is on really menacing form in ‘Fat Mac’, whose unsteady bass and atmosphere suggest a thrash metal track that doesn’t quite break out. ‘Fuck A Bitch’, with Death Grips, and ‘Fuck You’, with Warrior Queen, are keenly felt and incredibly powerful utterances, while ‘Function’ has white hot intensity thanks to its caustic production. All the while we build up to Flowdan’s third excellent contribution, ‘Dirty’ – at which point The Bug calls off the troops, setting his listener down in a quivering wreck. This is music of the future in the strongest possible sense – uncompromising, with no quarter given, but powerfully expressive at the same time.

5 out of 5

Reviewed By Ben Hogwood

{http://soundcloud.com/ninja-tune/sets/the-bug-angels-devils-tracks}