Review Summary: With "Ceres & Calypso in the Deep Time," Candy Claws pays homage to the past rather than mimicking it.
It seems safe to assume that a blurred pink guitar and the feeding of goats were most likely the zone-out images of choice during habitual needle drops and weed sparks in Candy Claws
’ practice space. Indeed, where the Colorado psychedelic/shoegaze/dream pop trio derives their influences from lands unsurprisingly adjacent to contemporaries such as Animal Collective
and Lotus Plaza
. But while this initially seems to be the description of a band crafting middlebrow genre clutter, the group’s junior LP, "Ceres & Calypso in the Deep," demonstrates a knack for harnessing its inspirations and producing a fresh interpretation. The result is an impressive project that maintains its strength despite arriving in the same year when its genre’s founders shattered a two decade silence.
’ primary tactic in doing so is some meticulously researched playing. The group may be heavily referencing the shoegaze textbook, but every iota of white space is scrawled with detailed annotations. The murky walls of sound conjured with effect laden guitars and childlike vocals are executed with precision and poignancy. No better example of this can be heard than on opener “Into the Deep Time (One Sun)” and closer “Where I Found You (One Star),” both of which would certainly have a My Bloody Valentine
citation if composed for a music degree thesis. Other tracks, such as “Pangaea Girls (Magic Feeling),” seem to have taken definite cues from Brian Wilson’s compositional genius, and “Birth of the Flower (Seagreen)” even evokes a phonophile wet dream of a Velvet Underground
and Beach Boys
collaboration while Nico still hung around with the former.
Yet, what sets Candy Claws
apart are the aforementioned youthful tendencies; a sense of wonderment and blissful ignorance that cause several of these tracks to take on an aura of fantasy. Whether embarking on a midsummer night flight through a mystical Mediterranean scene on “White Seal (Shell & Spine)” or tuning in to the gorgeously layered soundtrack of an imaginative youngster’s mind on “Transitional Bird (Clever Girl),” Candy Claws
capably paints portraits of enchantment with seasoned brush strokes. Perhaps the most surprising and captivating endeavor, however, is the accent of trip hop on the minimalist ambiance of “Night Ela (Mystic Thing).” While the penultimate piece seems like it would have been a more appropriate finale to the album, it retains its idyllic mood and initiates discussion regarding how far Candy Claws
may be capable of stretching their sound.
With "Ceres," Candy Claws
pays homage to the past rather than mimicking it, when the latter could have very easily been utilized as a somewhat passable crutch. Admittedly, "Ceres" probably isn't a performance of the style that will convert detractors, nor outshine aficionados’ avid 2013 affairs with "M B V" and/or "Sunbather." Regardless, Candy Claws
exhibit a knack for fashioning lush, memorable melodies and deserve an equivalent place beside current genre darlings. "Ceres" should be at least a onetime soundtrack for any fellow who fancies staring at their footwear.