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The Bug – London Zoo

The Bug’s debut album London Zoo is very much influenced by the dancehall music scene. This is especially expressed on the opening cut “Angry,” which features veteran reggae artist Tippa Irie. With driving percussion and sweaty synths, this song was made to move the body. However, the mind is moved as well, as Tippa follows the tenants of reggae music by infusing messages within the movement. Here, the artist is angered by the many ills existing in society. Though he doesn’t offer up solutions, the ideas are brought up to be shared and discussed. And, of course, danced to!


The brainchild of producer Kevin Martin, who takes a writing credit in all of the 12 tracks, London Zoo is a culmination of the various diverse projects that Martin has had a hand in creating over the years, from his techno roots to his jazz and dub background. Each is represented here to some degree: “Murder We,” featuring Ricky Ranking (whom you might know from his work with Roots Manuva), smacks of underground Dub, with its sinewy groove and dark bass influence; “Skeng,” which features Killa P and Flowdan, offers more of an underground hip-hop influence, sounding like something the experimental artist Busdriver might create; while “Jah War” brims with Reggaetone passion. “You & Me,” which features Roger Robinson, slows things down a tad, beginning with sparse percussion reminiscent of Jeru The Damaja’s “Come Clean” and morphing into a cacophony of melody, space synths and African Drum.

This album isn’t going to take the place of your Bob Marley collection. Nor is it going to displace the popularity of artists like Daddy Yankee, Ivy Queen, or Wisin’ & Yandel. It will groove in your club spots and rock out your car system. And if that dancehall flavor is your thing, though it beats with an understated English heart, London Zoo will fill the thirst created in underground island hideaways where the women are as hot as the weather, and sweat pours down like rain.


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