Somewhere between shoe-gaze and surf sits Candy Claws, a Fort Collins dream-pop band that has garnered national attention with their recent summer tour and newest record Hidden Lands.
Similar to the group’s previous record In the Dream of the Sea Life, the new disc was inspired, in part, by a book: Richard M. Ketchum’s The Secret Life of the Forest. I used the phrase “in part,” because the band’s own personal experiences living on the cusp of the Rocky Mountains also had a role to play in inspiring a record full of nature-inspired ambient dreamscapes and ethereal melody.
Hidden Lands is one of those records that can be approached in two ways: active listening or passive enjoyment. Even after listening to this album 10 or 11 times each experience has been different. Initially it was all fresh; previously unknown sounds floated through the room. Upon repeat listening I became cognizant of the whispery lyrics and finer details.
A certain ebb and flow winds its way through the songs; some are long, slow considerations of the earth’s evolution (“In the Deep Time”) while others pulse with the life of natural things such as sunlight or trees (“Sunbeam Show” and several others).
In the end, there are certain tracks that stand out for one reason or another. “Sunbeam Show” has its majestic chorus theme and “The Breathing Fire” has spacey synth and surf beats that sound a bit like The X-Files meets the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. “Sun Arrow” rounds out my shortlist of best tracks on Hidden Lands because it has a great part where plucked strings transition into fuzzed out guitar.
is available digitally via iTunes and Amazon and physically (as a CD or LP) at twosyllablerecords.com or at Twist & Shout (2508 E. Colfax). For more Candy Claws (including photos, an interview, and downloads) visit http://www.minesblog.com/music/tag/candy-claws