THE CANDLE THIEVES: ‘Happiness Blues’ EP


 This distinctly lo-fi duo from Peterborough has had a year of contrasts so far in 2010.  In between dates playing in the pubs, front-rooms, kitchens and back gardens of their fans, THE CANDLE THIEVES have also had high profile US support slots for The Scissor Sisters, David Gray and even My Chemical Romance! 

In fact, this EP is the result of their writing while on their US travels, although lead track ‘The Sunshine Song,’ is taken from their debut album ‘Sunshine & Other Misfortunes’ that was released in the spring of this year.

Certainly, on listening to that particular track for the first time it’is easy to see why such luminary headliners were keen to have them on board – although I have to concede, I find the My Chemical Romance support a little strange. But then, I guess it shows just how the music of THE CANDLE THIEVES transgresses musical genres- assuming of course that they didn’t get ‘glassed’ off stage by the emo giants’ fans! 

‘The Sunshine Song’ features that interminable drum machine beat, but the lads can be forgiven because it actually works in this context as the song is led by Scott’s perky Casio keyboard and warm, infectious vocals. The song has a nice little bounce about it, with such a hooky chorus, and distant sounding handclaps, which are always a winner with this reviewer. It’s quirky and almost child-like and most importantly…. fun. 

‘Annabelle’s Song’ brings the mood down a touch. The sombre piano introduction is supplemented by a light, almost choral backing before Scott takes the lead, his voice operating in a higher range this time. It’s a lovely, harmonious little song – quite dreamy, but there’s a familiarity about this song, though I’m buggered if I can think what it is! 

‘Paper Aeroplanes’ gives a lead ‘role’ to the glockenspiel as it dances over the top of the Casio, before the soft vocals kick in with a ‘Da da da’ refrain. The singing itself sees the voices distorted and hushed, which works really well whilst weirdly and rather randomly, as the song nears the end it seems like there is some traditional, stereotypical Chinese music lurking beneath the surface! (I would also say that this particular track sounds a lot like Barn Owl, a band here in Glasgow.)    

Final track ‘Balloon #2’ is more downbeat, but again with beautiful harmonies and backed in the main by the piano. This is a really atmospheric track  – a ‘grower’ – and one that showcases these guys as credible songwriters, with more up their sleeves than just ‘quirky.’ 

(Released through Carnival Town Records on 13th September 2010) 

(8/10)

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About Cee Tee Jackson

I run three blogs: 1) ceeteejackson.com (my author blog.) 2) leadingpetcare.com (my business / dog walking blog) 3) loudhorizon.wordpress.com (my music blog .. infrequent posts) Guess what? I'm a dog walking, wannabee author that loves music.
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