Through neon-streaked smoke billowing along the sidewalk and stale booze-breath conversations, a howling anthem prowls the night. Bed Bugs is the new 7” from Providence’s Atlantic Thrills, a showcase of what’s to come on their soon-to-be released LP on Almost Ready Records, and a follow up to their self-titled debut from 2014.
The Ocean State boys inject surf rock with their unique garage sound, peppered with a healthy dose of the Shondells and the pre-punk magnetism of The Seeds, topped off with the grime of being tied down to their urban abode. This is the surf sound of a city dweller, and it’s a lot less about hitting the beach in this batch than it is catching up with your sunburned friends after they get back; you show up just in time to miss the sun and ignite the evening.
Bed Bugs collects all the momentum you need to make the perfect, searing nightsizzle. It drags you down and up the east coast into the center of a dive bar dance party where you might not know anyone now, but you sure as hell will in time, and by morning no ones gunna remember a thing anyhow. And maybe that kind of forgetting is why there’s a sense of reminiscence and melancholy under all the exuberance.
B side “Sugar Sugar” burns sweetly, coming down off the high energy of “Bed Bugs”. Opening with a row of shimmering bells, a crunchy acoustic creates the bed for an astounding vocal that melts over everything with hushed vibrancy. Echoing the electric subtlety of the Velvet Underground, “Sugar Sugar” is a testament to how far Atlantic Thrills can go — from garage psych mayhem to a willowy ballad soaked in ethereal splendor.