By: Will Pinfold
Sound of Ceres | website | facebook | twitter | bandcamp | soundcloud |
Released on March 4, 2016 via Joyful Noise Recordings
If you’ve been missing Colorado dreampop duo Candy Claws in the long gap since Ceres & Calypso In The Deep Time, fear not; they’re back, sort of. Sound of Ceres is Karen & Ryan Hover aided by various illustrious collaborators including Jacob Graham of The Drums and several members of psych/pop-rockers The Apples In Stereo, but although the music they make is in roughly the same sphere, it definitely doesn’t feel like a straightforward change of name.
Rather than picking up where the densely conceptual, prehistory-themed Ceres… left off, Nostalgia For Infinity is distinctively its own entity, both in form and content. Musically, although it is still well within the somewhat amorphous boundaries of shoegaze/dreampop, the album has a cosmic, otherworldly quality a little reminiscent of very early Mercury Rev or even Spiritualized, its ethereal melodies built on richly textured, billowy clouds of analog synth. Although infused with the wistfulness the title suggests, it is overall a lighter-toned and more upbeat album, dreamy and dislocated where Ceres & Calypso was sometimes desolate and ominous.
In terms of Candy Claws releases, there’s a playfulness to Nostalgia For Infinity that in some ways looks back to Hidden Lands, but rather than self-referential sampling (though sampling is part of its texture), the album has an almost baroque pop feel, with cosy 70s/lounge style brass and orchestral elements. These balance out the wispy ‘adrift in space’ quality of songs like ‘My Spiral Arm’ nicely, giving tracks like ‘You’re Me’ a rich Odessey and Oracle (band, not Zombies album)-like texture.
A not-entirely-incorrect but overly simplistic evaluation of Nostalgia For Infinity would be to say that it is spacey, sweet and expansive where candy Claws’ work is earthly, haunted and earthy, but in fact the album’s warm, embracing feel stems from the blend of the celestial and material, the impersonal and the intimate. It’s a rich listening experience – perhaps a little too sweet for some tastes, especially listened to in one sitting – but its gently reflective melancholy is rarely cloying and absolutely embodies that excellent album title. If you’ve always wanted to hear a TV soundtrack session band from the 70’s covering The Cocteau Twins, this might be the album for you.