January 11, 2009: It Hugs Back, Inside Your Guitar

It doesn’t come as a surprise that a band named It Hugs Back would play such wispy cottonball indie-pop, but the part I don’t get is why they’re signed to that bastion of arty etherealism, 4AD. Inside Your Guitar sounds like a Fisher-Price version of Yo La Tengo— a bit oversimplified, and with all of the rough edges sanded down. Brisk, metronomic rhythms underpin light keyboard drone, lighter guitar jangle, and mushmouthed vocals that sound like they were recorded on tissue paper. It’s pleasant enough, and fairly catchy in parts, but it’s also generically twee, lacking much of a personality of its own. On any other label, they’d be pretty slight; amidst the idiosyncratic critics’ darlings that populate 4AD’s roster, they seem downright inessential.