Release date: April 24, 2012

The Hudson Branch are from Chicago, which used to mean something to me. It meant that their music would be covered with a thin gauzy layer of synths, deeper than deep bass guitars playing, interesting and meandering bass lines, and drums that were less likely to provide the foundation for the music but more likely to add atmosphere to the song. It meant that John McEntire was involved somehow and everything was going to get Sea-like and Cake-y. Somewhere along the way I lost track of music like this, and then The Hudson Branch ended up in my inbox.

World Kid is a lot like those Thrill Jockey albums of yore, full of atmospheric sounds of yore, but with something unexpected (to me at least): decent vocals. There are nine songs on this album, but none of them feel like a standout pop song, instead they are all little mantras. Sort of nice-sounding audio happenings that you will claim to like but barely notice as they are happening on your speakers. I listened to this album three times before writing this, and every time it sounded fresh and new. I don’t think that’s because it’s a stunning album so much as it’s so pleasant sounding that I stop paying attention to it.

There are plenty of good-to-great moments on World Kid.  It’s a nice listen. It’s pleasant. It doesn’t suck. Those superlatives, alongside my description of the music just sort of melting into my ears and running out without attaching itself to my brain, may not sound like the best sort of album to listen to but trust me, The Hudson Branch have crafted a decent album. I just wish at some point it had some teeth. It feels like Steely Dan without the sardonic lyrics.

— By Jason Bugg of The Bugg Blog, a freelance writer who has a wife, a bad rental home, two dogs, four cats, no kids, clinical depression and terribly strong thighs for a white man.

Now read Erin Torrance’s take on the album >>

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