Cuddlebug sludge, anyone? That’s the (slightly tongue-in-cheek) new genre that indie collective Kidbug have invented to describe their sound. Featuring Eerie Wanda‘s Marina Tadic, Adam Harding from Dumb Numbers, Swans‘ behemoth Thor Harris and Best Coast‘s Bobb Bruno, they’re a mighty force indeed for anyone with even a passing interest in indie noise.

This eponymous debut doesn’t often stray far from the loud/quiet formula, but the songwriting and production is so assured that it sounds absolutely fresh and fully formed. Anyone into Cocteau Twins, Swans and Mudhoney will find much to swoon to: it’s the meshing of dewy, soft vocals from Tadic with the chainsaw screech of guitars and crash of drums.

It’s both highly emotional and visceral; think Sonic Youth’s beauty/dissonance paradigm in EVOL or the deliriously sexy melancholic maelstrom of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless.

The songs are simply glorious and life affirming: Together manages to be both slinky and anthemic, Dreamy has a nagging riff like a bruised thigh, and Theme From Kidbug is a playful piece of sci-fi garage rock with its swooshy keyboards, as the band mockingly demand money in the refrain. But Good Inside, all teasing drawled vocals and pyrotechnic guitars, feels like Hope Sandoval’s sad-eyed sister joined The Breeders, and is the stand-out.

As you run around on the seemingly interminable hamster wheel for day whatever it is for you in lockdown, this album will transport you somewhere beautiful, and remind you of the space to meander and those closest to you, before the pandemic stole our collective freedom.