Chas. Mtn.


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Loosely affiliated with the nascent freak-folk underground championed by Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom, Cambridge, MA, duo Chas. Mtn. mix their acoustic reveries with brief blurts of noise-rock tape trickery and aggression. U.K. post-punks Swell Maps are a good historical touchstone, but Hugs lacks the fractured, shambolic quality of that trio's records. The proper songs tend toward propulsive folk-rock drones with quietly urgent vocals, somewhere between the delicate beauty of Jose Gonzalez and the more sinister edge of Greg Davis or Ariel Pink, and they're all quite good. The noisy experiments, on the other hand, are neither noisy nor experimental enough to be particularly interesting. There's about two-thirds of a very good bedroom-psych album here, but Hugs could stand some judicious editing.

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