It Hugs Back - Inside Your Guitar
Record Label: 4AD Records
Release Date: April 7, 2009 (USA)
Having been signed to the same label that propelled last year’s big breakout act, Bon Iver, to success, British band It Hugs Back could well emulate the feat of their labelmate. This, their debut album, is set to take the summer by storm, even though it feels more like a light breeze on a ray-soaked day.
Throughout the course of the 11-track album, It Hugs Back expresses a sound most perfectly experienced relaxing on a hammock or trampoline on a sunny day, accompanied by a chilled beverage and friends. The upbeat and dreamy sound of this record brings together everything that the band has worked for since their genesis in 2006, combining fuzzy guitars, mellow synth sounds and sleepy vocals to achieve a sound like a lazy Sunday afternoon.
The vocals are pitch-perfect and mix wonderfully with the music, which itself is well-executed and comprises everything necessary to make a great summer album, from the chilled songs to the faster-paced summer anthems, like “Now and Again.” The lyrics are good, but I never found myself concentrating on the lyrics, as they are not a focal point of the music.
Further influencing the sound of the album and making it sound as it does is the production, and the producer has mixed the sounds exquisitely, giving each sound its proper place and exposure, rounding out the sound into something that can be enjoyed by all this summer and perhaps even for many summers to come.
There isn’t a great deal to say about each song on its own, as what they do is join forces to form the coherent whole, melting into one another rather than differentiating themselves greatly, but that isn’t to say that the result isn’t a good one. It’s just not an album that stands up to, or, perhaps, is really intended for, serious, active listening, but merely having playing almost unnoticed in the background on a summer’s afternoon.
So, with summer just around the corner (and with probably the best weather the UK will get all year), it is the perfect release date for something so well suited to summer listening, even if I am as yet unsure as to whether it will last past that.