Review Summary: Candy Claws struck sonic gold on this masterpiece of neo-psychedelia and dream pop, easily topping the technicolor-factor of some of the most psychedelic groups of the 2010's.
Apologies if this is a fairly short review, as my love for this album is pretty straightforward.
In 2013, Fort Collins' own Candy Claws
released an absolute miracle of some of the most evocative, bubbly, efflorescent, and... Well, "candy-coated" neo-psychedelic dream pop released on a disc format beforehand. These people managed to forge such an unmistakably natural and floral sound that seems to practically teem with multicolored foliage and fauna, swirling and undulating in a completely various and at times unpredictable manner. The shimmering, mirage-like guitar effects and gauzy distortion, mixed with the hushed, sleepy vocals, the 60's dreamy bass lines (with occasional heavy shoegaze fuzz), simple yet dynamic drumming, and of course the mind-meltingly mesmerizing keyboards all combined on each and every one of these tracks to create such an adventurous, delightful, and even chaotic feelings in the listener.
Take Transitional Bird (Clever Girl), for example. The recurrent, heavily reverberated wood-blocks, The thumping, warping bass-lines, the nostalgic and fuzz-driven guitar, and the fluttery keyboards providing an aurora of sorts above all the magic composition make this a standout, for sure. Or the song White Seal (Shell & Spine), where the gleaming, flowing guitar and keyboards swirl around each other over atmospheric, light percussion and bass work, making this track feel like a flight through a heavenly, waterfall-ridden grove, sunlight peaking in through the thick rain-forest canopy, complete with cricked, creaky bridges and sea-shacks lightly crackling from age. It all has a simply glistening, baroque pop elegance to it that, combined with a professionally modern sense of trippy, shoegaze-y effects, makes this some of my favorite music in a genre that is itself already a favorite for me.
One of my absolute favorite songs on the album is definitely New Forest (Five Heads Of The Sun), where the heavy and vertigo-inducing opening leads to an inquisitive, jingly jaunt through the forest with faeries acrobatically contorting in cartwheels to the brilliantly colorful melodies sung by the soft-spoken vocalists, the keyboards providing a florescent and psychedelic light-show for the dance. Then the songs chorus brings a wave of light showering on the listener with powerful force. The melodic songwriting on display throughout the record is so insanely lovable, that it provides perfect, pick-me-up accompaniment to practically anything.
Fallen Tree Bridge (Brave Rainbow) is another clear standout track. With it's dangerous, samba influenced bass and guitar providing the backdrop for a gloriously epic and nostalgic pop tune, it definitely has one of the strongest and most rock-like grooves on the record. Notice how I've used the word nostalgic about twice or more so far? That's because the track-list in general has an almost omnipresent nostalgic feeling throughout the duration. Even on Night Ela (Mystic Thing), arguably the albums most downtrodden and slow-paced track, the band comes through with an extremely moody and suspenseful night hike through rows of fireflies flying in and out of formation.
Essentially, this is a definitive modern favorite of mine, and the album's shortcomings in other persons' views simply don't affect my enjoyment of this album by any measure. One of the greatest dream pop albums ever recorded, and perhaps one of my favorites in any genre for that matter.