Chas Mtn – Hugs (CD)

I was just about ready to say that the style of music that Chas Mtn plays is very organic and reminiscent of the sound that one would hear if they were walking along a road, bordered by a forest. At some point, the majority of the music on the disc is related to an acoustic guitar. Whether it is the soulful acoustic opening to “Deep Safety” or the disjointed stylings of “Leveled Mez”, Chas Mtn include that instrument as a primary focus for the entire disc.

The band moves to interesting planes of existence a number of times during “Hugs”; the grating, droning noise that presents itself during “Nice Mug” would work perfectly in the Sci Fi channel’s big monster movie of the week. The track is sadly only slightly over a minute; what seems to hamstring “Hugs” is the fact that Chas Mtn scurries away from the tracks well before they could. There was at least another minute of roadtime that Chas Mtn could have pulled out of “Nice Mug”. Sure, some of the tracks (“Mothure”) are full tracks, but these are perhaps the least interesting tracks on the disc. This is due to the fact that the dreamy-pop arrangements played by the band have been done time and time again by acts like Grandaddy and The Flaming Lips.

Where Chas Mtn should look further into are these experimental tracks. They are interesting, alive, and best of all qualitatively different from anything else that individuals are committing to disc at this juncture. When one takes “Hugs” as an entire album, the results are great; the bouncing between styles are what is needed to keep individuals interested and sticking throughout the full disc. Chas Mtn makes an interesting play during “Mothure”, in that the clapping and stomping breaks down a fourth wall, and shows them not necessarily as an automaton but as a collection of humans who try to impress and excite listeners with their music. “Hugs” is an album that should have something interesting for individuals to grab onto, regardless of their tastes in music. The music is open ended and extremely easy to get into; Chas Mtn’s past has allowed them to craft something endearing to the widest segment of the population. Here’s to hoping that “Hugs” is not just a one-off and that the folky, shoegazy rock of the band will become an institution in music.

Top Tracks: Leveled Mez, Mothure

Rating: 6.8/10

Chas Mtn – Hugs / 2006 Western Vinyl / 16 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/chasmtn / http://www.westernvinyl.com / Reviewed 02 June 2006

[JMcQ]

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