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Best Before 2027

by Storm Bugs

Dull, bored, numb, grey, frazzled, sitting in a ditch, a hat, and a bottle, and a creeping sense of dread. We all do the shopping on Saturday, our hands in our pockets and potatoes on our head. He’s got a theory, it’s bigger than their theory, it’s better than hers, and more rational than yours. Received ideas are propping up empire, furthering capital and white mens careers. Table matters.
A man enters the room, closes the door behind him, walks over, and sits in the chair by window. He gazes out in silence, crosses his legs, and shifts in the chair. European Coffee Lounge, pressurised and finely ground, drinking in the unlit sound, European Coffee Lounge. Looking out of the window the building is reflected in the windows of the next building, which is reflecting back the reflection of the windows of this building, reflecting back the windows of that building... ...reflecting. European Coffee Lounge, pressurised and finely ground, drinking in the unlit sound, European Coffee Lounge. “Welcome back” the radio presenter says when the music ends. But welcome back from where? We didn’t go anywhere to return from, neither, one presumes, did she. European Coffee Lounge, pressurised and finely ground, drinking in the unlit sound, European Coffee Lounge.
Syntax 07:12
Ruffer crack, Shakatak, rogue, rascal, frater. Launderette, maunderer, Koncrete Kobbler. Words and their meanings, bent out of shape, in a confusion of sound and syntax. Dimber, dambler clapper-dudgeon, swaddler, cosmic prancer, angler, cackler, dancer. All kinds of people, bent out of shape, in their confusion, sound and syntax. click track, switch back, tactic, tin tack, tic tac, yik yak, practice syntax. All kinds of meaning, bent out of shape, formed from confusion of sound and syntax. Words and their meanings, bent out of shape, in a confusion of sound and syntax. Cadge-gloak, curtal, palliard, patrico, jackman, whip-jack, drummer, click track, syntax, tactic, tin tack, practice, tic tac, click track, syntax, switch back…
The night, the wind a young giraffe Inside her room, the runes are cast The iron bridge the bugle horn Sounds the signal across the ward If as one the patients rise Each to see the winged surprise Pigeon in my pocket A silver grey A push pedal bicycle tearaway Pigeon in my pocket With a drop of gin Drip it, drop it, turn it in.
Burt's Baby 02:51
Generic ambient music is what I listen to these days, it’s supposed to be relaxing, supposed to smooth my cares away. It plays on in the background, as though it isn’t there, as though it isn’t noticed, as though it doesn’t care. There’s years, literally years, of it, that can be streamed online, who ever listens to it, who ever has the time?
Leary Man 03:54
Of ups and downs I've felt the shocks Since days of bats and shuttlecocks, And allcumpaine and Albert-rocks, When I the world began; And for these games I often sigh Both marmoney and Spanish-fly, And flying kites, too, in the sky, For which I've often ran. But by what I've seen, and where I've been, I've always found it so, That if you wish to learn to live Too much you cannot know. For you must now be wide-awake, If a living you would make, So I'll advise what course to take To be a Leary Man. Go first to costermongery, To every fakement get a-fly, And pick up all their slangery, But let this be your plan; Put up with no Kieboshery, But look well after poshery, And cut teetotal sloshery, And get drunk when you can. And when you go to spree about, Let it always be your pride To have a white tile on your nob And bull-dog by your side Your fogle you must flashly tie Each word must patter flashery, And hit cove's head to smashery, To be a Leary Man. To Covent Garden or Billingsgate You of a morn must not be late, But your donkey drive at a slashing rate, And first be if you can. From short pipe you must your bacca blow And if your donkey will not go, To lick him you must not be slow But well his hide must tan. The fakement conn'd by knowing rooks Must be well known to you, And if you come to fibbery, You must mug one or two. Then go to St Giles's rookery, And live up some strange nookery, Of no use domestic cookery, To be a Leary Man.
Best Before 03:50
t's got to that stage, heading towards retirement age, turning the page, turning the page. But it's never too late, even counting down the final days, to make some mistakes, by the best before date.


Review from issue 471 of the Wire magazine

The Storm Bugs Best Before 2027
Bandcamp DL

Philip Sanderson and Steven Ball first started making music as Storm Bugs in 1978. creating DIY pop and tape collage, putting out cassettes on their own Snatch Tapes label until 1981. Using old reel-to-reel machines, scratched/ locked groove records, fuzzy radio recordings, poetic half-spoken lyrics warped by tape manipulations, their work tapped into a surreal and distinctly British sort of gloom, laced with dry humour. In 2002 they revived the project with The Bugs Are Back EP, and in 2017 with Certified Original &Vintage Fakes.

Now arrives Best Before 2027. Like their earlier work, the album sounds as though it was made with rickety recording gear, only now the aesthetics are early DIY digital - endearingly lumpy DAW production, preset reverbs and hyperactive, babbling vector synths. Opener "Table Matters-la reference to their 1980 EP of the same name) is a disoriented stomp pinned in place by a monotone rhythmic vocal: Dull, bored, numb, grey, frazzled, sitting in a ditch/A hat, and a bottle, and a creeping sense of dread". "European Coffee Lounge" continues the sardonic mood, boasting a ridiculously catchy chorus framed by churning, spasmodic synth sequences.

"Syntax" is a highlight, seven plus minutes of chilled synthpop with a softly crooning voice wrapping itself around lines like Cadge•gloak, curtal, palliard, patrico, jackman,whip-jack, drummer, click track", lending the words a ridiculous erotic charge. Keeping with the wordy theme, there's a loose and lumpy reading of "Leary Mann from The Vulgar Tongue 118571 by Ducange Anglicus, which works surprisingly well as an ode to contemporary British masculinity. "Pigeon In My Pocket" is a stranger, speedy muddle of noisy electronics and semi-nightmarish post-punk poetry.

The best gag on the album is "Generic Ambient Music", twinkling digital bells and a Vocodered voice cooing, "There's years, literally years, of it, that can be streamed online". Cheeky, clever and a silly bargain for £l on Bandcamp. Go get it.
Leah Kardos

The Storm Bugs – European Coffee Lounge (2023)

Steven Ball and Philip Sanderson’s Storm Bugs projects is one of the few musical endeavours that has retained its integrity and vitality over a four and half decade period. Coming out of the DIY tape underground of the late ‘70s, the duo’s latest release is as fresh as a daisy and as wonky as a temperature-sensitive synth in a thunderstorm. ‘European Coffee Lounge’ (pressurised and finely ground) breaks the third wall like B.S. Johnson, ‘The Girl Chewing Gum’ or peak-era Wyatt and is as funky as a mozzie’s proboscis.
BY Kyle McCallum from his Reckless Records Top Ten June 2023


released February 13, 2023

1. Table Matters (music: Sanderson, words: Ball)
2. European Coffee Lounge (music: Sanderson, words: Sanderson and Ball)
3. Syntax (music: Sanderson, words: Ball)
4. Pigeon in my Pocket (words and music: Sanderson)
5. Burt's Baby (music: Sanderson)
6. Generic Ambient Music (music: Sanderson and Ball, words: Ball)
7. Leary Man (music: Sanderson and Ball, lyrics from The Vulgar Tongue by Ducange Anglicus, 1857)
8. Best Before (music: Sanderson, words: Ball)

Recorded in Hastings and New Cross, 2022
Steven Ball - vocals, guitars and bass
Philip Sanderson - electronic and digital paraphenalia, vocals, production


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