#42: The Shortwave Set – Glitches ‘N’ Bugs (2008)
From certain angles there’s possibly something a shade insubstantial to all this. Traces of innocuous indie; not college rock by numbers, exactly – more subtle insinuations, rippling across the body of the melody as if justifying some bad mood. Which I mention because this is very definitely an uplifting, good mood song – and perhaps even a little sly with it. A track that hangs adroitly, the essence of the gallery.
I suppose what I’m trying (and failing) to say is that there’s a multi-textural quality to ‘Glitches ‘N’ Bugs’ and parent album Replica Sun Machine both. There’s a magpie thing going on, influences pulled from various sources, then sparingly yet expertly woven into the fabric of composition. Thus the downbeat and intimate indie-rock template is intelligently distorted, bolstered by oblique clicks and buzzes, by subtle psychedelic references, a London vibe parked against Swedish influences (courtesy of vocalist Ulrika Bjorsne) and – considering that the band are hardly a high profile act – the slightly surreal appendages of production by Danger Mouse, and (elsewhere on the album), arrangements by Van Dyke Parks plus noodles by John Cale.
The end result is a track such as this, deceptive in both reach and timbre. The hip-hop undertone to the production – something only apparent when you know where to look – combines with the male/female vocal, the nonchalant ’60’s posturings, the crafty momentum of chorus and verse, the defining catchiness… you know, all that stuff in the first paragraph that concerns itself with insubstantial shades? Well, when you listen you can read it for the smoke and mirrors that it really is. This is a lovely song, lit from many angles, and personally speaking it’s a real shame that the band appear to have journeyed towards an undramatic hiatus ever since this, their final single, failed to sell in anywhere decent numbers.
The Shortwave Set – Glitches ‘N’ Bugs