I had honestly forgotten I ordered this rapturous new music from the band Buddhist Bubblegum until it arrived in the mail. In fact, I hadn’t even looked closely enough at the original purchase of Dreaming in the Desert to notice the release was actually a split with Kansas City musician Wiggly. More on Wiggly in a moment.
Buddhist Bubblegum delights
Starting with Buddhist Bubblegum, I am super looking forward to the full length later this year. BB is Polish emigrant Wiktor Szotowski, who is now working in Slovenia. Each Szotowski sketch on Dreaming of the Desert is some intoxicating marriage of Buddy Holly, Paul McCartney and Ty Segall.
If regrettably named, Buddhist Bubblegum show off multiple, glistening 80’s and retro sounds. For example, they’re perfectly comfortable as a polite garage band on “Paper Ridges.”
However, Buddhist Bubblegum is more intriguing when Szotowski shows off different gears. “Merry-Go-Round,” originally released in 2020, could be a sunnier version of the delirious harmonies of Veronica Falls, or more immediately, The La’s. Seriously — I can’t be the only person who wonders how songwriters even tap into this kind of sublime creativity. Bliss out with “Merry-Go-Round.”
Even more recently, the band Buddhist Bubblegum dropped “Seems Like Yesterday” in July, which could have been a B-side from Sgt. Pepper.
Can’t wait to hear which of these directions – or others – that BB leans into when their expected full length comes out later this year, I presume on Cavern Brew Records.
Wiggly isn’t worth it
I’m not entirely clear why Cavern Brew appended Wiggly’s six cuts here with BB to fill out the split. For every song he introduces with some coherent direction, Wiggly quickly layers a second, unrelated melody over the top. Or he abruptly stops and restarts the song in some new fanciful direction. I support experimenting with structure and space but here, the results are just noodlings.
If you want a better idea of what the mysterious Wiggly is capable of, check out his self-titled debut in 2019. It’s a charming collection of bedroom pop. Wiggly can be quite endearing…a bit of Luna, a lot of Lambchop. Here is the delightful “The Promised Land (Remember the Rainbow Through the Years).”
I liked it so much, I bought it. More of this please, Mr. Wiggly!
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