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CD Review: It Hugs Back's Inside Your Guitar

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The Deal: Mature debut from Brit 4-piece adheres to 4AD aesthetic.

The Good: Alternating between propulsive chill-out and full-on shoegaze glory, Inside Your Guitar is the record My Bloody Valentine and American Analog Set would construct if invited In the Fishtank. "Back Down" is three minutes of full-throttle, Kevin Shields feedback, and "Now + Again" is Swervedriver with Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan providing brief blasts of guitar skronk. On the laid-back cuts, this Kent band's judicious use of accents speaks to rare debut-maturity, though it includes some of the droning gloss that coats much of the 4AD catalog. Even these mellower tracks leave the console foreshadowing crescendo, and as though taking a breath before diving under, typically relaunch midway through with renewed vigor. It's in those tightly wound moments that IHB go from pleasant to memorable. Disc-opener "Q" is indicative, pastel organ wash and guitar spangles decorating the considered pace while synth noise and feedback build to lift-off, before everything dissolves into the original tempo and instrumentation. The highlight though is the six-minute "Rehearsal," a lost Jesus & Mary Chain classic run through various wave-benders instead of multiple coats of Spectorian reverb.

The Bad: They're so good when they go full-shoegaze, you wish they'd do it even more. The lyrics float by mostly unnoticed, more sonic element than narrative tool – neither qualifies as "bad," but that's the review format we use. The only remotely disappointing thing here is the band's name. Ugh.

The Verdict: These 40 minutes suggest good – maybe even great – things ahead.

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