Monday, June 1, 2009

Inside Your Guitar - It Hugs Back

Inside Your Guitar

It Hugs Back
4AD Records.

SCQ Rating: 58%

When faced with a question about comfort, the multitude of potential answers all share a strain of brevity. Whether we’re asking about comforts at home or heart, comfort food or comfort music, our first-response is typically short on syllables because from our earliest days in the womb, humans inherently get the feeling and peace of being at ease. As if the band’s name didn’t clue us in, attention hedonists: for your next orgy of fluffy duvets and gourmet ice cream, consider adding Inside Your Guitar to the fantasy; a record so polite and digestible, at times it’s barely discernable.

Their hushed trademarks – suffocating sticky pop melodies under layers of detachment – line up for inspection on opener ‘Q’’s blend of lilting acoustics, steady percussion and muted distortion. It’s a template that lacks the ambition for either memorable success or downright disaster and as such, Inside Your Guitar merely nudges its next ten candidates forward with a “that-didn’t-work-how-about-this?” mentality. And some of them DO work, like the ruminating evening-breeze of ‘Soon’ or ‘Remember’’s cool-kid slow-dance, marrying bleary organs to lyrical sweet nothings. Where It Hugs Back truly struggle is evident on supposed rockers ‘Back Down’ and ‘Now and Again’ which, despite standard indie-rock songwriting, come off flaccid in comparison to first single ‘Work Day’. And while ‘Work Day’ is nearly as reproachable as actually having to go to work, at least its twee-rock foundation better suits the UK quartet’s admittedly sleepy demeanor. Beyond the odd charmer, Inside Your Guitar is a one-spin affair that aims to lull you so convincingly into a trance, it overshoots straight into unconsciousness. Don't fret: it can't hug back if you don't hug first.

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