Today sees the release of the quite frankly gorgeous album ‘New Ruins’ by Portland, Oregon band Candace. I reviewed the single ‘Rewind’ off the album recently, noting the song’s ‘sun-bleached layered harmonies over crisply produced crystalline shards of guitar, Alpine-proportioned melodies and a bass line that manages to serve the song yet create its own distinctive groove’.
‘New Ruins’ as a whole maintains and sustains this impression. Indeed, it is hard to see how you could pick a single release from an album that is note-perfect from beginning to end. Combining angelic harmonies with shimmering instrumentation throughout, this is no simply labelled album – drawing from elements of shoegaze and dream pop in a dreamy languorous mix, eschewing bombast and bravado for subtlety and delicacy.
The album opens up with ‘Sunlight’ that recalls the glimmer guitar chimes of bands like James, setting the general tone for wistful melancholia and Cocteau Twins-like curtains of guitar delicately scattered over the top.
The single, ‘Rewind’, is a perfect pop snapshot.
Songs like ‘Between the Day and Now’ – do you feel like you’ve had a little too much, I wish I could have a little more – reveal the lyricalism that matches the musical dreamscapes painted by Candace. When the band do veer into more muscular territory – ‘Mendicino’ – they provide a master class in psychedelia in a reverb-drenched wash with echoes of feedback and subtle distortion.
What I love about the album is that every instrument plays an essential part – note for example the extremely melodic bass lines shared between Sarah Rose and Sarah Nienaber which provide a vital structural contribution and could stand alone but interplay perfectly with the driving drums. The guitar tones are restrained but so crunchy and atmospheric, and the harmonies deliver strong melodies in an ethereal layered veil.
‘New Ruins’ can be ordered here and through the usual sources from firday, 2 March.
By the way, Candace generously released a free download of covers for Valentines Day – you can get it here.
You can catch Candace on the road promoting the album, including an appearance at SXSW:
Portland, OR at Mississippi Studios (Record Release Show)
Eugene, OR at Luckey’s Club
Reno, NV at Holland Project
Las Vegas, NV at Bunkhouse Saloon
Tempe, AZ at Yucca Tap Room
Tucson, AZ at Club Congress
Laredo, TX at Second Chance
Monterrey, MX at Agua Fria
March 12 – 17
Austin, TX at SXSW