Monday, May 01, 2006

From the Guitar Center in Tampa. Really.

Download: Candy Bars - "Violets"
Download: Candy Bars - "Enough to Choke a Cold Air"

Having grown up in Tampa, FL, it wasn’t until I moved away at the age of 17 that I realized how lacking the entire bay area is/was in terms of relevant or interesting contributions to music, art, or the world in general. I also came to the realization that people in other parts of the country spend their time in ways other than oiling up their “lats” and “delts” in the hopes of one day achieving the perfect bronze. In what seems like a perpetually sprawling stucco metropolis oppressed by heat and humidity 9 months out of the year, it’s rare (if possible) to stumble across a band that possesses depth in songcraft, style, and lyric. Candy Bars are of this rare sort.

On their new album, On Cutting Ti-gers In Half and Understanding Narravation, Candy Bars prove that in today’s shrinking world, “place” has become far less important in determining artistic quality and style. The members have managed to craft a collection of songs that goes well beyond what anyone would expect from a “dark, orchestral pop” act. Unlike many of the unremarkable acts that are slotted into similar genres, Candy Bars demonstrate their ability to capture a sense of delightful desperation and frustrating isolation in songs that feature singable (though sufficiently complex) verses and tasty hooks.

Although certain instruments like harpsichord appear throughout On Cutting Ti-gers, the arrangements on this album always keep the listener guessing and engaged. For a brief instant on “Violets”, you’d swear you’re listening to an unreleased Brian Wilson track—a testament to the fact that the members of Candy Bars are talented enough to pay their respects to the great artists of our time but tasteful enough to avoid mimicry. This album is one that I will return to for years to come.

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