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Although “Bugs” begins with a folksy veneer, it soon reveals itself to be much more than a wispy strum-along. Eschewing the alternative acoustics of acts like Fleet Foxes, O’Death instead opt to craft songs which make respectful nods toward the stringed music of Appalachia but whose wingspan lifts them to far loftier heights. Through a whirl of fiddle, banjo, and ukulele (in addition to more traditional rock’n’roll accompaniment), the New York City quintet showcases intricately interwoven melodies against singer Greg Jamie’s feathery vocals.
“Bugs” opens the band’s new third full-length, Outside, which was released by the Ernest Jenning Record Co. this past April. The tune is representative of the band’s ethos: very approachable yet quite clever and filled with all sorts of little surprises (a rhythmic shift here, a contrapuntal phrase there) which make it a pleasurable game of discovery for the listener. Brevity is another one of “Bugs”‘ virtues; that O’Death manage to pack so many musical ideas and textures into just over two minutes makes the song all the more impressive and amenable to repeated spins.