I've never been a huge fan of Hugs & Kisses' live show. As John Ross describes in his excellent preview of their album release party, the trio gets dressed up in cartoonish costumes and lip-synchs to story-songs sung in chipmunkspeak. It's high-concept stuff that I might not be high enough to grasp.
Their album, on the other hand, has been kicking my ass all week. The Casualties of Happiness (Manup Music) is smothered in the same childlike weirdness that permeates the live show, and goofy vocal stylings still comprise the foundation of the songs. But what seemed like an exclusive inside joke on stage has taken new shape on disc. These 28 minutes come off as a grand statement, an invitation into a weird world where happiness and sadness constantly butt headsójust like the real world, but with extra helium.
It seems weird to recommend this show after dissing the band's live antics, but I have a feeling their skits will take on new life after hearing this record, or even its best song. And even if it turns out you're turned off by Saturday's production, it's something you have to see for yourself.
The show starts at 10ish, with Hugs & Kisses joined by Pat Minotaur, Hills, the Unholy 2 and Uncle Scratch's Gospel Revival. And it's at Carabar (115 Parsons Ave.), so you know it's free.