It Hugs Back – Recommended Record
It’s easy to see why Matthew Simms, the guitarist, vocalist and songwriter behind London quartet It Hugs Back, was asked to join Wire last year. Despite being recorded on a modest budget, the psych-poppers’ third LP has a remarkable clarity and sharpness: Simms’ guitar style here may suggest a sunnier, more melody-led approach, but the glossy, crunching riffs and expressive brevity of tracks like Go Magic! and Big Sighs have much in common with Wire’s insistent, metallic post-punk.
If Recommended Record has a flaw, it’s in the occasional feeling of sensory overload: there is some impressively clear layering of organ, synth, dreamy vocals and crashing guitars here, which works best on slower songs like Teenage Hands; but combined with relentless garage tempos, those elements can feel overwhelming. Some respite appears in the motorik pastiche of Piano Drone, but It Hugs Back are too exuberant to rein things in for long. [Sam Wiseman]