Confession: I'm a fan of late 1970s and early 1980s R&B. So as I was listening to a DJ mix with such stalwarts as Shalamar, Change, The Whispers, and Teena Marie, I suddenly heard a mysterious song that I could not remember. Surely this track was an obscure tune from over 20 years ago. After a long Google search, I finally discovered the song's identity: "Consequences" by Bugz in the Attic—from 2006!
Listening to "Consequences" will send you to your calendar to make sure you're not in an early '80s time warp. Sounding like a combination of Cameo and Yarbrough and Peoples, Bugz in the Attic ride a synthesizer-driven groove, making for an irresistible beat. The vocals alternate between a woman and a male-dominated chorus, adding to the overall funky vibe. "Don't you go too slow/There might be consequences," the group snarls. On this track, Bugz in the Attic has done a tremendous job paying tribute to good-time '80s dance-soul.
Bugz in the Attic is actually a collection of London-based DJs and producers, including Orin Walters (Afronaught), Paul Dolby (Seiji), Kaidi Tatham, Daz-I-Kue, Alex Phountzi (Neon Fusion), Cliff Scott, Mark Force, Matt Lord, and Mikey Stirton. They run their own label, BitaSweet Records (founded in 1999), on which they released their debut album, 2006's Back in the Dog House. That disc yielded a number one hit on the UK dance charts—appropriately enough, an electronically-enhanced cover of Yarbrough and Peoples' "Don't Stop the Music." In general, according to their website, the group exists to "to create and promote quality, progressive yet contemporary soul music."
The band is also credited with pioneering the broken beat genre, largely a UK phenomenon. According to All Music, broken beat reflects several influences, including '70s jazz-funk, dub reggae, house, techno, drum'n'bass, and contemporary R&B. The term "broken beat" derives from its reliance on harder, faster tempos that sometimes border on frenetic. Typically these songs involve a female lead singer and are keyboard-driven. In addition to the UK, broken beat has also become popular in Canada, Japan, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. Bugz in the Attic plans to play some dates in the US, so broken beat may hit American clubs soon.
Fellow enthusiasts of '70s and '80s soul should seek out "Consequences" by Bugz in the Attic, from Back in the Dog House. Their CDs can be difficult to find, but are available as imports on Amazon. Put this CD on, close your eyes, and be transported back to your youth.
For more information, visit Bugz in the Attic's official website and MySpace Music page. Be sure to visit their MySpace site for a spirited live version of "Consequences" and their cover of "Don't Stop the Music."