Hugs is the broken-down experimental folk album debut from the duo of Chas. Mtn. (Gary War and Ned Egg). A mixture of manipulated found sounds, odd sonic details, and fragments of folk and rock music, the album has things in common with groups like Ariel Pink, No Neck Blues Band, and other artists who are constantly trying to slide out of easy descriptions while at the same time challenging listeners.
In an odd way, Hugs reminds me of an album I might just find somewhere, whether it be as a tape in a bin at the thrift store, or left in a pile on a street corner after a mysterious homeless person / busker finishes playing and leaves, never to be seen again. "Deep Safety" opens the disc with furious jangly guitar and bass while Egg and War multi-track their vocals and harmonize in only a few places while a four note chime melody repeats throughout the whole song somewhere off in the distance.
"Wheels Of Space" changes things up with repetitive, primal drum machine while the two add frantic bursts of vocals where only a few words are enunciated so they're understandable. "Salad Of Flies" is even more raw, layering dense analogue electronics over what sounds like fairly standard garage-band rumbling. The production quality of the album is such that feedback, static, and overdriven instruments and vocals elements all become crucial parts of the often haphazard recording (again, adding to the sometimes "discarded" quality that I mention above).
While they touch on some beautiful moments musically (the excellent "Nice Breeze Going" and "Fly Over The City" both have some great guitar parts and well-done vocals) and lyrics that touch on greatness (including a line in the latter song about 'going home to re-learn gravity'), the biggest problem with Hugs is that it's often just kind of a drag. While there are a couple louder tracks on the disc about halfway through, mostly the album just sort of slogs through a huge batch of muddily-produced bedroom jams that largely blur together over the course of almost an hour in running length. Fans of experimental bedroom rock rejoice.