Candythief is a quirky, fresh and unique take on the female singer songwriter, with the wondrous vocals of Diana de Cabarrus, which sees her transform Scots trad with more ambient, electronic sounds, as well as her stunning voice. Imaginary Medals consistently lives up to this standard, a March release that will remind us of their place on the Scottish music scene.
Eclectic, experimental Edinburgh-based band Candythief returns with their third full length album of chamber/orchestral pop-with-grit, draped with novel riffs, melodies, and musings. Incororating many genres and influences into one record the LP pans from carnival noir blues to more precise arrangements with a comic take not too dissimilar to Neil Hannon: a distinctive take on European song-writing.
Candythief has won much acclaim and radio air time over the years including live sessions/featuring as download of the day on BBC6 music, radio play from previous releases on BBC radio 1, BBC radio 2, BBC Scotland, a bunch of internet radios; having tunes on film soundtracks, one of which won a prize at Cannes.
Opening their album with without a doubt crowd-pleaser, Red Rivers, the band introduce us to the album with this blend folk strings and indie bass with poetic lyrics such as “we feed our hearts on scraps and crusts, we never shake off the sorrow and dust.” Today, however, is a hopeful, optimistic builder of a track, albeit omitting the hopeful from the words: “often the compass gets lost with all the rest, that’s when we start to get the sinister requests.” Altering the entire feel of the album, St James Infirmary Blues, a retro bluesy track performed and recorded in that anecdotal form.
Album titler, Imaginary Medals, clearly exotic with a Balkan influence, a folk track with a rhythmic tempo, is indicative of the travelled side of this band. The Sand and The Hill is frankly a warm hug of a track with those strings and Rosemary Lane, another that hints at a transient life, an Irish folk song about sailors.
Time in the Tin, however, mirrors a whole new set of influences, namely the Welsh Super Furry Animals, using clever lyrics to highlight their issues with the present day and The Starting Gun, a rockier, more ruckus track on this folk record unfortunately leaves us with a pretty stagnant riff for the crux of this track.
All in all, it’s a rich and varied album, which at times peaks but never ceases to be interesting with this unusual take on the songstress. Diana de Cabarrus will remain on my radar, as I look out for more of the same.
Imaginary Medals is out in March 2018. The launch party is at Edinburgh’s Voodoo Rooms on 30th March.