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New Candys, 'Vyvyd"

Vivid cover imageThe latest from Italy's New Candys blasts immediately from the gate with an ear-candy combination of pulsating synth and massive drums, bass to match, and world-weary vocals before exploding into millions of crystalline guitar chords coated in fuzz-drenched reverb, resulting in what is quite possibly the most danceable tune the group has ever crafted. All the psyched-out power of prior releases exists, but their fourth full-length comes with the added bonus of cleaner production, allowing the powerhouse rhythm section to step forward amidst what feels to be a recharged songwriting team. Vyvyd becomes less a title and more an experience.

Little Cloud / Dischi Sotterraneie

Not to be outdone by drum-heavy opening track "Twin Mine," New Candys get down to business immediately on "Evil Evil," with a pounding drum machine joined by real drums before distorted vocals and amped-up guitars complete the richly beautiful noise. Despite the increased use of drum machine, reverb lovers will be richly satisfied across the album, especially on the heartfelt "Begin Again," a song steeped in love and longing: "There I go, once again / Inside your head I will end / Where lives the love we once had / Which now belongs somewhere else." Tracks "Vyvyan Rising" and "Helluva Zoo" favor reverb and jangle over an overpowering rhythm, both allowing vocal harmonies and guitar interplay to take front and center. "Q&K" adds female vocals into the mix, guitar at the forefront, drums pulled back into the mix, and rhythm slowed to create a dreamy incorporeal haze.

While the hallmark of much of New Candys' output is intended to be mutable by their psychedelic nature, the band has tightened many of their musical ideas into cohesive concepts. They make great use of namesake elements on "The Clockmaker"— the ticking sound of a clock, a persistently timed rhythm — before changing rhythm and breaking out of the pattern in a gesture to the impermanence of time. "Now every clock of mine is ticking out of time / It's way too late, we're all too late." Closing track "Snake Eat Snake" is reminiscent of the ancient symbol of the ouroboros, usually a snake and sometimes a dragon eating its own tail, that alternately symbolizes the enteral cyclic renewal ("Bring down the light / Warm us inside / Want to get by till we die"), the transmigration of souls ("Down to the hole, there is no one inside it / Want to get home, there is no one to take me / Bound by the snake from below / Is she coming out with me? / Down in the hole, where no souls are invited"), or fertility.

According to the album's Bandcamp page, the band supposedly steeped Vyvyd in "religious, pagan and archetypal symbols," and a keen listener can have fun searching for these. None of it is necessary since the sound as a whole is wonderfully bewitching on its own. Lyrically, nothing here is Shakespeare, but great melodies, fuzz-drenched reverb, tuneful hooks, and beautiful instrumentation make it poetry of its own.

Sound samples may be heard here.