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Candies - Dense Waves Make Your Eyes Wider

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Artist: Candies

Album: Dense Waves Make Your Eyes Wider

Label: Turn

Review date: Jun. 10, 2003

Denser Waves, Spare Sound

On 2001’s Leaving Our Homes, North Italy’s Candies offered wide-ranging material drawing from a huge spectrum of influences. From DC hardcore-informed scorchers to low-key string and horn arrangements assembled with help from John Convertino (of former tourmates Calexico), the album displayed a promising band still reaching to define their sound.

Dense Waves Make Your Eyes Wider is the group’s second full-length and a decidedly more focused effort. From the faux-Adbusters packaging design imploring consumers “Don’t burn CDs. Support the independent music scene” to the conspicuous lack of extra instrumentation present on Leaving Our Homes, it is evident that Candies have a clearer idea of their direction than they did a couple years ago. The album itself is short and spare – eight songs crammed into 26 minutes, and production values are uniform from song to song ditching most experimental meanderings for a straight-ahead driving approach.

Given these factors, Candies could have turned out a less than remarkable post-punk revival record like so many others in recent months, but instead manage to pull it off for a fresh and guiltlessly enjoyable collection of songs.

The opener, “Like Tennis Shoes”, employs the restrained guitar line epics of latter day Unwound over a crisp rhythm section before Candies slip into their more melodic, and consequently aggressive numbers. That Giulo Calvino’s sneering vocals resemble Mark E. Smith’s both in tone and manner is unavoidable, but his delivery reigns in even the most raucous, loose songs on the record.

The few tracks here that employ audible synthesizers are the ones that cement its repeated listening potential, a holdover from the abstractions left behind from Leaving. While it’s not completely evident yet that the band is locked into the more straightforward approach for good, it is refreshing to see a record like this played in such a heartfelt, pretension-free manner.

By Bennett Yankey

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