The Bug Vs Earth – “Snakes Vs Rats” (Singles Going Steady)

Our first taste of the Bug and Earth's Concrete Desert possesses all of the tremendous, sludgy, doomy, dubby instrumental power one could hope for.

Mike Schiller: This is ponderous, man. Our first taste of Kevin Martin and Earth’s collaborative album-length follow-up to the Boa/Cold EP from a few years ago carries little of the pure menace of their previous work, but all of the tremendous, sludgy, doomy, dubby instrumental power one could hope for. It sets a mood and then sticks with it for five minutes, never bothering to change, because why should it have to? Picture an abandoned island town slowly being leveled by lava, and you’re most of the way to imagining what this sounds like. [8/10]

Andrew Paschal: “Snakes Vs Rats” starts off promisingly enough. The dramatic, slow prowl of the opening notes immediately draw you in with their insistent mystery. After initially grabbing listeners with its beguiling atmosphere, however, the track does not seem to know where to take us next. The doomy, lurching guitars that assume the reins gradually lose their power and effectiveness, sounding more tired than menacing as they retread the same territory with diminishing returns. [6/10]

Paul Carr: The combined talents of Earth main man, Dylan Carlson and Kevin Martin, the man behind the experimental electronic sounds of The Bug, crash into each other to produce this droning slab of post-rock. It’s a tight, constricting song that begins with yawning, cavernous beats before adding shuffling percussion and Carlson’s ambient metal guitars. It’s a hugely repetitive and unnerving piece that soon gets lost in its own musical maze with nowhere to go and little hope of escape. [6/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: The animals named in its title are apt ones for this track, which slinks close to the ground as the Bug and Earth face off. Slow and slick, this is a song rife with tension. Something lurks within these cautious beats, and that something is ominous. As simple as the beats are, and as laid-back as the tempo is, “Snakes Vs Rats” is coiled and ready to strike, and subtle changes in the background fuzz make it easy to almost forget how repetitive the track is on the whole. The perfect scenery for an underfoot showdown, with a lot of subtleties, if not much melody. [6/10]

Steve Horowitz: Nature abhors a drone; get out the vacuum cleaner and push the record button. The industrial noise offers its own reasons for existence. This is the soulless sound of man and machines at work. One can lose oneself in the din, but only a few would clamor for more. I, too, vote for silence and would choose not to listen to this — but there are many who do in their daily existence and find the music within. [5/10]

Scott Zuppardo: Trip-hopping with some snazzy shaker samples and a two note guitar drone pickled in shoot-em-up explosions for color. If I knew the end of the world was coming, I’d probably keep this on loop. [5/10]

The Bug Vs Earth’s Concrete Desert releases 24 March via Ninja Tune.

SCORE: 6.00