Albums, Indie Rock, Reviews, Shoegaze

Candy Claws – Ceres & Calypso in the Deep Time

0 Comments 26 August 2013

Rating: 7.5/10

As a self-proclaimed fan of shoegaze and dream pop, I will be the first to admit that there are plenty of times I hear bands with those tags show lots of potential but get too lost in the mood or soundscape they are creating. Regardless of how impressive the layered textures and sounds are, if there isn’t just that little something extra in terms of a hook or distinguishable parts, I am likely to enjoy the record a few times and rarely come back to it again once the newness has worn off. While Colorado-based Candy Claws has toed that line in the past, their latest effort has enough grounding structure to create something both dreamy and catchy at the same time.

Ceres & Calypso in the Deep Time starts off with the shoegaze-driven “Into the Deep Time (One Sun)”; a track brazenly similar to something you might find on a My Bloody Valentine album. Fuzzy, almost sludgy synths and minimalist, down-tempo drumming paired with dreamy layered vocals: a classic shoegaze formula. It would be easy at this point to expect that the following tracks may bring you something enjoyable, but perhaps come with few surprises or variation you aren’t already familiar with.

Luckily, the very next track, “White Seal (Shell & Spine)”, immediately quells that thought.  The drums pick up their pace, bright and almost tropical, reverb-drenched melodies take over and the album never looks back at the more one-dimensional sound displayed on the opening track.  While the album is easily classifiable as a dream pop or shoegaze record, there is an abundance of intentional structure and plenty of catchy hooks to provide each track its own identity.

Lots of musical similarities come to mind over the 44 minute course of the album, but no single comparison is adequate for the ground they cover.  You’ll find parts that hearken to Slowdive style dream pop, quirky melodies and instrumentation reminiscent of early Animal Collective, and even some broad similarities to the so-called “Chill Wave” movement (encompassing bands such as ) in terms of the nostalgic, fuzzy atmosphere. To top it off, everything is covered in a psychedelic, beachy haze.

While comparisons can be great tools when describing a band’s sound, where really succeeds on this record is in crafting a very unique sound despite the apparent influences. Ceres & Calypso is a very dynamic record replete with interesting chord changes and masterful textures while still keeping the album light, airy, and just plain fun at times. The overall experience of listening to the album in headphones brings to mind the mood I might expect to have during an acid trip while lying on the sand of a remote island.

If I had to point out one thing that would improve this album it would be the production. With all of the layered sounds and tones on this album, it could  have benefited from a little more dynamic sound; at times it feels somewhat compressed, which is a shame given the wide-range of instrumentation present. However, this is not enough to keep it from being one of my favorite releases this year and my favorite effort from them yet.

(Twosyllable Records, 2013)



Jamie - who has written 2 posts on Slap The Bass.

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