Upon opening HoZac Records' mailer and witnessing Black Bug's cover art for Reflecting the Light, a band I was also unfamiliar with, I could smell the freshness of this new synthesized, yet punk approach, to darkness, simply from the artwork. The opening track, "You Scream," delivered with perfection. I was immediately transported back to The Milk Bar; a references that works on two levels. Anyone growing up in Jacksonville, FL, knows I am referring to Goth Nights at the underground downtown club, The Milk Bar. For anyone else, the A Clockwork Orange reference generates the same aesthetic.
The digital collage begins with a healthy centerpiece that is our own moon, supported by a horizon of fog and evergreens with the watchful eye of mountains above, tangled in a web of computerized red angular outlines. The afternoon sky above, reflecting the light, is warm like the desert, in contrast to coolness of the morning below. The cover art is the only image necessary for this album.
There was no text on the front telling me what I was in for, yet this artwork spoke so clearly. It is the kind of album cover that I know would have compelled me to buy immediately while cratedigging, and would have withstood all process of elimination phases if funding had to drive such a decision. Black Bug's Reflecting the Light wins on all levels, and that's before their future-like music evens fills the room.
I recently read a book about Joy Division, claiming they never intended to attract a gothic following, and certainly did not take a goth approach with their songwriting. I believe this, and I believe it is the same for bands like Black Bug. Hell, no one actually said to me that this was goth. I think in fact I am the one proudly using that term here; that is the impression I get, just like so many Joy Division fans did years before.
Call it what you want; it is good / bad ass / loaded with attitude / loaded with synths / overdriven to perfection / current / right / infectious / horrifying. It's Black Bug.