Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
The Hugs "Again & Again"
[TWISTY U.S.-BRIT POP] When you’re young and talented like Danny Delegato and his group the Hugs, everything comes easy at first: praise, opportunities and the boundless energy to keep it all going. As such, the summery teen-pop quartet was the talk of Portland a year ago, landing opening stints for national acts and a label deal with James Endeacott, the guy who discovered the Strokes.
It’s a bit early to pen the Hugs’ Behind the Music story, but things have changed. The deal with Endeacott’s 1965 Records imprint has, for whatever reason, fallen through; the gigs are modest; the hype has died down. It’s in the midst of all this that the Hugs self-release their second disc, Again & Again.
That disc lives at the intersection of bratty and savvy, showcasing both the melodic intuition that garnered the band attention in the first place and the snotty immediacy that may have lost it the keys to the kingdom.
Opener “Dreams,” with its early-Beatles guitar leads and pharma-tropical breakdowns, feels like three melodic ideas slapped together, and it’s a rough start. But the hooks are here: In the Strokes-funk “Egos,” Delegato’s voice shifts from singing to barking, matching his raw, plainspoken lyrical insecurities. “In Love” showcases enough tribal drumming and vocal interplay to obscure its pop-filler lyrics.
But for all the Hugs’ natural talent—which shines through often on Again & Again—one gets the impression that too much of their energy is going into being a rock band, not into making great songs. It’s hard not to notice, for instance, all the references to getting high. Sometimes they’re youthful and refreshing, as on the downright cute “She Was High,” and sometimes it’s worrying. “Sometimes I feel like I could just lay down and die,” Delegato sings on “Come Close.” “But then all I do is save up money, and then I get high. Woo-hoo!” The Hugs have everything they need to make it big on their own, but being young isn’t enough —it’s still going to take some work to make this a well-rounded band .
Christmas Vacation is a must see around this time of year. I like the real-factor of this movie. They have some troubles at first and the cat gets fired up under the nice old chair and he has a few bulb issues on the roof but for the most part this movie is very tender. His family is a one of a kind, and the great pool idea using the 'bonus' money from work is a sure thing now. It's a good one. Go watch it!