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Candy Claws, ‘Ceres & Calypso In the Deep Time’ – Album Review

Twosyllable

Candy Claws’ new album sounds like music from another era. It’s not that it sounds old, or that it’s derivative; it’s just that this kind of forward-thinking, intellectual, challenging, post-Animal Collective music doesn’t belong to these times.

Ten years ago — or maybe even five — you would hear this record and think of the aforementioned AnCo, as well as Deerhoof, the Fiery Furnaces and other such bands that take the pop paradigm and beat it within an inch of its life to see if it still sounds pretty, to see if it’s still something you can whistle.

Sometimes, that’s what’s going on with ‘Ceres & Calypso In the Deep Time.’ The underwater-wedding vibe of ‘Fell In Love, At the Water’ doesn’t follow from the explicit title, but rather from the gurgling vocal effects, the momentum toward dread and the overall tension that captures the pressure of a gymnast or a trapeze artist or a bride. With its peaceful conclusion, the song joins celebratory follow-up and album standout ‘Pangaea Girls – Magic Feeling’ to form a listening experience that transports listeners someplace new. It doesn’t quite hold for the entirety of the collection, but it comes pretty close.

The album’s title alludes to both Roman and Greek mythology, while the concept goes back much further, as detailed in the press notes: “A Journey Through the Mesozoic Era. The album is divided into three parts highlighting major periods of the extinct reptiles’ history, Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous.” If you are in any way intrigued by that premise, this is your album, and you are a special soul. But the Colorado band’s genre-hopping, while remaining true to their earthy psychedelic aesthetic, is enjoyable for any listener with the patience to take an indirect trip.

Candy Claws are a throwback to when it was cool to be weird, before creativity in the arts began being tied so closely to class and gender and race that it became common to stop considering each piece for what it was. And as the enjoyment of the album is proportional to the effort listeners put into it, it will be an uphill battle for Candy Claws to get ‘Ceres & Calypso In the Deep Time’ heard by a significant number of people. But something tells us a large audience isn’t what these guys are after.

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