Alternative supergroup drops first self-titled LP
Comprised of Marina Tadic of Eerie Wanda, Adam Harding of Dumb Numbers, Bobb Bruno of Best Coast and Thor Harris of Swans, supergroup Kidbug have come together to release their self-titled debut LP on May 22, 2020, with Joyful Noise Recordings. Born out of Tadic’s and Harding’s romance, Kidbug is grunge meeting pop in one long love letter to love.
After meeting at an annual label holiday party, Tadic and Harding began exchanging love songs to each other like a modern-day John and Yoko. Enlisting friends Bruno on bass and Harris on drums to round out the sound, Kidbug makes refreshingly collaborative music while simultaneously experimenting with form and execution. There is nothing predictable about this band.
Clocking in at just under 35 minutes, Kidbug is extremely self-aware. No one wants to listen to people in love lament for hours on end, even though it’d be easy to do. Eleven tracks, however, is the perfect length and with some songs being more like interludes while others gradually fade out, Kidbug has mastered the art of letting listeners breathe. With subject matter as raw and honest as that on Kidbug, space is just as important as the sound.
The first two singles, “Lovesick” and “Good Inside,” are butted up against each other, right after the opener/introduction, “Now Let’s Go To Sleep.” Immediately, the tone of Tadic’s voice invites listeners in as she revels in her lower register and flirts with her head voice. The fuzz guitar of “Lovesick” is a precursor to the sound that’ll carry throughout the record, while the backing vocals of “Good Inside” become their own rhythmic line, signaling just how playful the music will get.
“Moonglue” and “Never” are two of the shortest tracks on the album, although, with the way the first seamlessly transitions into the second, it’s clear they were meant to be coupled together. Using darker tones and lasers, “Moonglue” is revolutionary in that the vocal melody compliments the guitar lines instead of the other way around. It’s “Never” though that steals the spotlight. Opening with a guitar riff that easily could have been plucked from Nirvana’s catalog, Tadic’s voice crescendos and layers over itself as she repeatedly sings the crux of the album, “never gonna let go again/ never gonna, never gonna let go of you.”
The simplicity of these tracks evolves into musical complexity while the group flexes their impressively toned songwriting muscles. “Woozy” is a wall of sound, highlighting Harding’s vocals and cinematic backing tracks before winding itself down at the last minute. It cuts out suddenly before cowbell and clean guitar licks throw listeners into “Theme from Kidbug.” With Tadic and Harding volleying the vocal parts back and forth, this song truly does encompass everything Kidbug is: collaborative, fun and built on love.
As with some of the other songs, “Together” and “Stay” feel like they belong side by side. The former utilizes complex rhythmic techniques, chugging along slightly behind the beat in the most musically captivating way. In “Together,” Tadic sings of how “easily we move into a parallel universe” while the vocal filters and electronic work of “Stay” make it feel like the other world she was referring to.
The star of Kidbug is without a doubt the penultimate track, “Yesterdays.” A fitting duet for Tadic and Harding, the lyricism is both intimate and gut-wrenching. “All my life told myself there was no one for me,” they sing, “but now I know the truth to be/ there was no one else for me.” The closer, “Dreamy,” which features Dale Crover of Melvins, is a proper indie rock song with power chords and plenty of instrumental solo work.
Bred out of love, Kidbug is electric, emotional and the start of something remarkable. Wearing their hearts on their sleeves, or in this case the songs, Kidbug is at the beginning of what will hopefully become a long love affair for these four impressively talented individuals.