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Review: bug spray (never give up) - Space Boyfriend

Written by Enoch Kim(@ProCreateEnoch)

2 years is a long time for a redo...

In 2012, Jami Carignan, under the name Space Boyfriend, released their first full-length LP Bug Spray. It was...it was great ok? It was one of my favorite albums that year ok? A clever, emotionally-intense record that really sold me on singer-songwriter chiptune, Bug Spray became instantly popular in the chip scene. But Jami soon expressed their discontent over the resulting product Bug Spray becameand vowed a re-release that’d be bigger, better, a definitive version of their discography.

Now it’s 2014 and bug spray (never give up) releases in two days. Plenty has changed and plenty has been added. But is it the definitive version of Bug Spray?

I’ve been racking my brain all week and I still don’t know. So for now I’m going to treat don’t give up as a completely different album.

First off, Jami is a master of eliciting emotions. never give up goes everywhere from the bouncy-happy watermelon party to the wistful starry sea, the mournful a letter to a dying star and the devastating ill moonlight. Two years later and ill moonlight still makes me teary along with the newer track a letter to a dying star.

never give up is also deceptively simple. Jami hides some emotionally powerful shit beneath their simple lyrics and catchy melodies, which are backed by skillful LSDJ tracking which are never needlessly complex and never steals the spotlight from Jami and their lyrics. Even the tracklist is more than meets the eye. At first listening, it feels clearly divided between “happy” and “sad” tracks but upon further listens, it’s a very cyclical album that demands you switch on repeat and figure out more of the story behind Space Boyfriend.

Most importantly, never give up is raw. Jami Carignan screams and cries a lot on the album, the production is filled with noise and banging drums, and oftentimes the lyrics dips into extremes of adoration and self-loathing. never give up//always give up is highlighted by harsh noise and distorted guitars and it drives just how unfiltered and genuine the album is. Never does Jami feel like they’re holding back and it’s such a resonant album because so.

Ok, no more beating around the bush, what’s changed since Bug Spray?

Art by uglyfun

The most obvious change is the addition of a few tracks from the rest of the Space Boyfriend discography. Cutie cake, a some thatis almost too cute is included along with shadow aspect (formerly What is Wrong With You?), take care of me, and a cover of Someday My Prince Will Come from the Someday My Prince Will Come EP along with the single a letter to a dying star. Some songs (gazing upon a dazzling galaxy, take care of me, shadow aspect) have been expanded or had lyrics added and these additions and changes does seem to support the thought that Bug Spray was simply unfinished.

But I think the important change was a change in its change in emotional context. Jami in a blog post stated that they didn’t feel like they “owned” Bug Spray in that “a lot of that music is invested in something else, in someone else” and true enough, going back and listening to it Bug Spray feels like a one-sided conversation between someone and with Always Give Up and Bug Spray (Reprise) side by side, the end of Bug Spray always felt defeatist. The inclusion of take care of me and someday my prince will come changes the end to something more optimistic (and better supports the cyclical nature of the album which didn’t work as well in the original).

In the end, it’s hard to choose which version I like more. Bug Spray has a lot of emotional bearing and despite it only having been two years I have a lot of nostalgia for it. But I think I’m gonna have to side with never give up because it knows how important the original was and it never tries to supplant it. There’s no attempt to recreate the same emotional impact of Bug Spray, but it does try to make a more positive message as a way to reconcile the original. For that, it stands on its own, managing to step away from the shadow of Bug Spray. I caught myself singing along to the album again and again, with the same joy as listening to a new album.

Because this is not a redo.

Grade: A+ Buy It

For additional info, go listen to EP15 of the ZOOM LENS Podcast where Jami discusses Bug Spray and Never Give Up.You know. If you’re a fucking nerd like me and care about this.


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Album: bug spray (never give up)

Released: February 25, 2014

Purchase: Cassette//Digital When Released

Producer: Jami Carignan

Label: ZOOM LENS

Website: http://spaceboyfriend.com/

Enoch_profile_pic.png

In 2XXX, on the Starfleet Azurus, a monster has emerged from it's cryogenic chamber.  The alarm rings throughout the ship but it is too late. The beast rampages through the Starfleet leaving death in it's wake.  Now having destroyed the entire crew, the monster is the master of the Starfleet Azurus.  It is  loud, enourmous, and likes to review music on it's free time.

It's name is Enoch Kim.
 
Can you defeat him?  Insert two credit(s) to start.
 
Links: