Label: Smalltown America Release date: 27/09/10 Link: Official Site Buy/Stream: Amazon/Spotify The appropriately named Hugs by Skibunny in many ways does exactly what it says on the tin. It is fun, warm and generally easy to listen to music from the Belfast-based duo who make music designed primarily with the party in mind. Well-known in Northern Ireland for their parties, Skibunny are more than just a band; they are DJs, promoters and remixes as well. With this in mind therefore, Hugs is as carefully crafted as you might imagine, staggered somewhere in between The xx and Broken Social Scene (but much more cheerful), and with plenty of catchy hooks and foot-stamping melodies. Standout tracks include the powerful, chugging guitar-based ‘Walk Don’t Walk’ that would fit anywhere in Metric’s back catalogue, the echoey choruses of latest single ‘Aah Ooh’ and ‘Sun Sun Sun’, a song just so cheerful even the most miserable person would find it hard not to smile. It is very hard to listen to this album without getting it stuck in your head for a very long time, and this is a very positive characteristic indeed. Naturally, for a band famous for throwing wild parties, they have decided to celebrate the release of Hugs with a party not only in Belfast but also in Edinburgh. However, what Hugs does perhaps lack is a bit of punch. – at times there seems to an airy feel to a lot of the album. It is of course conceivable that this is the kind of music that really should be played in a club rather than through a CD player to get the full feel of its impact, and their live shows have certainly achieved a lot of rave reviews. The problem is that although there are some very good tracks on this album, the majority of this album is distinctly average and fairly same. A fantastic party band they may be, but a fantastic recording band they are not. However, this is still an enjoyable record, and they aren’t far off something very good. Photobucket