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Cool Sounds – BUG0BEAT (Chapter Music)

Cool Sounds, eh? It may not be the most original name for an artist, but it’s one that certainly fits the bill.  The mind behind the magic is Naarm/Melbourne based musician Dainis Lacey, alongside a revolving circle of collaborators.  Daring to not be stuck in a steadfast style, their output has meandered across country, disco, synthpop, and psychedelia.

Following the release of their funk-filled fifth album Like That in 2022, Cool Sounds are at last slithering into the consciousness of music fans all over, through rapturously received radio play and headline shows both at home and abroad.  Now, they’re back with BUG0BEAT, a collection of six tracks crawling with character.

The insect inspired EP was instigated when Lacey and fellow Melbourne based musician Dylan Young took on the task of re-recording songs written on their computer using vintage instruments and recording equipment found in storage in an old barn.  “This process of making the digital feel organic made us think of bugs, creatures that quietly inhabit the spaces around us,” says Lacey.  “We imagined bugs dancing to our grooves and landed on the phrase Bug0Beat when visitors asked what type of music we were making.”

Taking cues from Talking Heads, the title track is like stumbling into a school disco; chock full of childlike wonder, with thick layers of bass and backing vocals, topped with electric and acoustic guitars, and seasoned with slices of synths and samples.  “I found the bop” repeats Lacey throughout, and as the song wraps up, you will have found it too.

‘Mutual Bliss’ is a slick statement on the sorrows of heartbreak, uniquely expressed through its references to songwriting.  Wide ranging vocals merge with ringing riffs and cowbell, plus some tambourine tossed in for good measure.  With blissful bass and and pared back poetics, ‘Bug Life’ winds things down a notch, before ‘Shore’s gripping groove brings back the beats.

It’s clear the sense of eccentricity that emanates from BUG0BEAT is very much influenced by the limits of the equipment utilised: “Suddenly decisions that once seemed nonchalant, like flicking through a sample library and changing drum sounds mid song, meant afternoons of pulling new drum kits out of storage or exploring the barn for new ways to use instruments.” Lacey recalls.

Penultimate track ‘On The Line’ feels like being whisked back to the ‘80s, with its drum machines, saxophone and beep boops and boings sure to get the older generation jiving. As we reach the end with ‘Another Way’, it seems like somebody got hold of the bug spray.  In this stripped back and sullen track, Lacey laments: “It’s a dead-end road/It’s a dollar owed/It’s a highway closed/It’s heartache”.

Eight years since their debut LP Dance Moves, BUG0BEAT is proof that Cool Sounds can continue to cook up memorable earworms to infest your playlist.

BUG0BEAT is out 1st March via Chapter Music.

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