Candy Hearts - Ripped Up Jeans & Silly Dreams
Release Date: March 9, 2010
Record Label: Unsigned
Every once in a short while, a song finds its way into your ear canal and hits you just right. Like a good bowl of warm mac n' cheese that makes your belly glow with delight, you feel like this special song deserves not only a good home in your memory bank, but like that hearty bowl of yum-yum, you want everyone else you love to enjoy it with you. It's so gosh-darn wonderful, you almost feel as if you're disrespecting everyone you care about for not hearing this nugget of beauty.
Candy Hearts is that bowl of mac n' cheese: they write the songs you want to play in a boombox that you hold up outside the window of the girl you love; they sing the lyrics you pen on your notebook during math lectures; they are the melodies ice cream trucks chime out for all children to run to. The Purchase, NY quartet's full-length debut is composed of 13 songs that are cute, bouncy and will make you swoon more than the first time Michelle Tanner popped her thumb up and said, "You got it, dude." Don't think this is Kidz Bop for the Hipster Generation - this is like great modern pop-infused rock music with a timely bounce that makes you feel like you're on a trampoline even when you're standing still.
Lemuria meets Matthew Sweet meets Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer. Whimsical, cute, but not too choke-on-your-own-vomit cute (see: Nicky & Alex from "Full House"), Candy Hearts pretty much gives you an indication in their band name and album title, but blows you away with how much fun you're having once they begin. You'll feel like you're on a swingset in your own bedroom as "Blocking the Sunshine" dares you to not roll down a grassy hill. "Flashing Flashers," "Red Balloon" and "Hiding From My Friends" should be played at all friendly get-togethers for the rest of time - they've got so much pip, so much zest, it's like running through a sprinkler naked. Candy Hearts never wants you to lose that warm feeling, and it's supported by a female sensibility as well as a tightly-wound but pleasantly tame backing band.
Mariel Loveland (even her name is adorable!) is honest, gentle and finds vulnerability in any easygoing listener; to locate that soft spot and make you feel like a goofy teenager trying out new songs in your garage over summer isn't something many modern vocalists can do (even if their goal is to make you feel "like a kid again") - Loveland's melodies, words and composure make you embrace it without feeling like she's overbearing. "You and Me" is like a bonfire ballad about crushes, recalling Friday nights staring at the telephone, knowing something could blossom if you could only pinpoint the right words... even if they seem wrong. Every syllable she sings is for the young at heart, those who still sense the honest exposure we had as a summertime teenager in love - not just with someone else, but our entire uncertainty.
Everything comes out fast and fuzzy, like a baby ostrich with adult legs. At first, you might find it a bit too cut-and-dry, yet what really makes everything sparkle is the earnest sentiment in all its simplicity. It's not an overproduced, super-polished romp through a weekend. Ripped Up Jeans & Silly Dreams barely stretches over half an hour, but packs an entire summer break into that time without theatrics. This is the band's first output, so to have this be their introduction is a heck of a feat. "I'm still young and I want to stay in the sun." Practical wisdom that's easy to adhere to - and even more fun to blast into your ears whether you're downing a warm bowl of mac or munchin' on a snocone. Either way, it's the youthfulness we've never quite grown out of that keeps us less than perfect - so you might as well enjoy yourself.
Yet another solid review! I really, really need to listen to this album more. You definitely hit the nail on the head with this one: Music for the jaded twenty-something with a trapped 16 year-old hopeless romantic within. Or some bullshit like that. Haha.