12 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Hugo’s debut successfully fuses R&B with the timeless tones of Southern gospel and the kind of ‘60s soul that had sharply dressed mods grooving in underground clubs of the singer/songwriter’s London home. The title-track opens with a timelessly produced beat pounding under contagious grooves, subtle wah-wah guitar and Hugo’s comfortable tenor crooning in a demure cool. His amazing cover of Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” turns the tune into a boot-stomping, banjo-dappled, tambourine-shaking, Southern spiritual that sounds more rooted in the bluesy foundation of the 1969 song “Oh Well” from Fleetwood Mac (back when guitar luminary Peter Green fronted the band). “Bread & Butter” recalls a time in the mid- to late ‘90s when Beck was braiding Delta blues with dorm-room funk, while the near anthemic “Hopelessly Stoned” bestows a Moog-trimmed hymn to the jam band population. “Hurt Makes It Beautiful” builds on the Jamiroquai template to deliver a soulful ballad bolstered by buoyant beats and soaring inflections before the catchy “Mekong River Delta” turns pre-millennial post-modern pop into something free from the trappings of genre classification.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Hugo’s debut successfully fuses R&B with the timeless tones of Southern gospel and the kind of ‘60s soul that had sharply dressed mods grooving in underground clubs of the singer/songwriter’s London home. The title-track opens with a timelessly produced beat pounding under contagious grooves, subtle wah-wah guitar and Hugo’s comfortable tenor crooning in a demure cool. His amazing cover of Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” turns the tune into a boot-stomping, banjo-dappled, tambourine-shaking, Southern spiritual that sounds more rooted in the bluesy foundation of the 1969 song “Oh Well” from Fleetwood Mac (back when guitar luminary Peter Green fronted the band). “Bread & Butter” recalls a time in the mid- to late ‘90s when Beck was braiding Delta blues with dorm-room funk, while the near anthemic “Hopelessly Stoned” bestows a Moog-trimmed hymn to the jam band population. “Hurt Makes It Beautiful” builds on the Jamiroquai template to deliver a soulful ballad bolstered by buoyant beats and soaring inflections before the catchy “Mekong River Delta” turns pre-millennial post-modern pop into something free from the trappings of genre classification.

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