Occasionally a record comes along that reminds us that there is beauty in the world that only the pure of heart can make us see. This is that record, a perfect capsule of hope for the young and old.
The Education of Lil Bub: Space Cat Gives Earthlings a Dose of Truth on Debut
Lil Bub. She is tiny. She is perfect. She is a girl. And she uses science and magic to communicate her special message of peace and love to the universe. With those two utterly important tools at her disposal she has communicated with her dude and his close friend Matt to create her first full-length album. Oh, sure, Bub has been to the studio before: She made a single with Kim Deal, appeared on Run the Jewels’ Meow the Jewels but this is all hers, her Plastic Ono Band, her Face Value, her The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
How is it? Well, in the word of Lil Bub herself: Yes.
Surprisingly or not she’s shed many of her obvious influences. She’s gone public with her affinity for Rush and her friendship with Steve Albini and David Yow might suggest that she’s into the heavier side of things. One might even think that her close proximity to fellow Hoosiers Murder By Death might have rubbed off. But instead this girl has given us something that is uniquely her own, a trip through times of wonder.
There are few vocal turns on the record, a move that owes a little something to Bub’s predilection for the enigmatic but what few utterances are there are pure treasures, such as the opening “Hello Earth” which calls to mind a space jam held at Brian Wilson’s pad with gorgeous orbs of love and light streaming around everyone’s head. The tune’s buoyant melody and rhythms are impossible to forget and Bub’s dude and his pal do her proud as they flawlessly execute her beautiful vision. Of course no one can forget that this is a girl who paid her dues in the space rock scene at one time and so “New Gravity” is an appropriately extraterrestrial jam, the kind of thing Kraftwerk might have imagined were they sent into the tiny portal of perfection that is Bub.
“Assimilation” is the record’s most infectious tune and, clocking in at a little over one minute, also the shortest. It’s an excellent bridge between the record’s earliest moments “A Friend”, featuring our heroine’s alien purrs and a warm blanket of keyboards that absolutely sings, reminding us of her boundless imagination and ability to heal with a simple melody line. Of course we also know by now of Bub’s love of a good dance groove and on this joint it’s “Another Voyage”, which will have dance floor junkies doing a step known as the Bub by the time the winter holidays are over.
Elsewhere, gorgeous title track and the cosmic suite of “Space Sister” (something Bub considers Whoopi Goldberg) and "Earth Sister” further solidify Bub’s reputation as one of our planet’s greatest composers. The closing “Rebirth” is as moving as anything in recent memory and it proves that Bub’s close pal Andrew WK’s assertion that listening to this record is both “a soundtrack to the universe itself” and “the sonic equivalent of holding Lil Bub in your arms” (we’ll have to take your word, Andrew) is also true and true.
Thank you, Bub. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, your special brand of science and magic with us.