thu 28/10/2021

Album: The Bug - Fire | reviews, news & interviews

Album: The Bug - Fire

Album: The Bug - Fire

Kevin Martin gets fierce and seriously heavy

Fire: Urban tales of the Pandemic

There’s now been a fair amount of music produced in reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic and most of it has contained at least a suggestion of hope for the future. The Bug’s new album? Not so much.

Fire – the third record in a triptych that began with London Zoo in 2008 and continued with 2014’s Angels and Devils – is probably the most menacing and ferocious album that Kevin Martin has ever produced. Bringing in a posse of long-time collaborators like Flowdan, Manga and award-winning poet Roger Robinson as well as new faces such as Logan, Nazamba and FFSYTHO, he has ramped up the ante and pushed his usual mishmash of Jamaican dancehall, grime, hip hop and experimental electronica even deeper into a dystopian-nightmare-made-real to soundtrack this modern plague.

Sonic industrial violence backs the machine-gun delivery of Flowdan on both “Pressure” and “Bomb”, before he manages to knock things even further up a gear with ever more militancy on “Hammer”. Daddy Freddy’s hymn to the Weed, “Ganja Baby”, is anything but mellow, while Logan’s “Fuck Off” is particularly claustrophobic and nasty. Meanwhile, Manga is speedy and paranoid on “High Rise” and “Bang” and Nazamba brings a Prince Far I-like menace to the grinding and heavy “War”.

Fire is topped and tailed with contributions from the mighty dub bard, Roger Robinson. “The Fourth Day” is a narration of a never-ending lockdown, where tinned food is a gourmet meal and the unvaccinated aren’t arrested but terminated. However, he brings things to a close with something altogether more serious – “The Missing”, a weighty meditation on the victims of the Grenfell Fire. It’s a reminder that while government management of Covid has been somewhat lacking, it’s nothing that we couldn’t have foreseen from the kind of people who believe they should be free of the consequences of their actions.

Fire is probably the most menacing and ferocious album that Kevin Martin has ever produced

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