Hailing from New York City via England, Chicago, New Orleans and Boston, Analog Candle is “an expressionist, avant-garde dream-pop collective” formed by producer and songwriter, Callum Plews.
Originally from England, Callum was inspired to form Analog Candle after collaborating with an array of musicians whilst living in the “magic and bustle” of New Orleans. The project began over six years ago, after Callum realised he was more comfortable with the concept of others performing and interpreting his creations than he was doing them himself.
Bringing together performers from the realms of “avant-garde, folk and emo”, the initial group began recording at Callum’s bedroom studio, and self-released a number of songs online under the moniker, Analog Candle. This is apparently a reference to the Arcade Fire album, Neon Bible.
They’re influenced by Animal Collective, Broken Social Scene, Xiu Xiu (Callum has worked with Angela Seo in the past), the aforementioned Arcade Fire, Beach House and the writings of Haruki Muramaki, Franz Kafka and Sylvia Plath. After settling in New York City, the Winter ’15 EP became “the culmination of a variety of cultural and musical viewpoints”.
First you’re caught in “Scarlett’s Web”, which rings into strum of despondent, sad acoustic guitar. Xylophone sounding percussion washes over the listener, with beautifully melodic and profoundly sad bass guitar. “I see where my body is, but my heart’s faraway” enforces this melancholic feel. That ringing sensation comes back, though this time it’s much more pronounced.
Then brace for a “Pillow Fight”. This booms with bass drum and patter of drum roll. Bass weaves moodily before descending against somewhat abrasive guitar. The song ends before you know it, the line “and I’ll be reeling from the impact like the rest of my entire life” ringing like the fadeout, perhaps developing that crestfallen feel from the previous track.
“Trier” opens with thick, mournful slabs of keyboard. Emphatic clap of the drum really locks you into this most winter of feels. Is this dealing with some sort of seasonal depression? Midway sees guitar chime in before chugging hopeful, a way out of winter and into spring, perhaps? The rattle of the hi-hat further enforces that driving feel.
Finale, “Space Dreams Of You Too”, has a whimsical, swinging feel to it, really echoing out and almost autumnal. The vocals, slightly husky, seem to be multi tracked and wash over you to the point that they’re almost overwhelming.
Bass guitar really reaches for those trees as those leaves fall to the ground. Things come to a complete halt before starting, again, in a different vein. Chiming and percussive until strumming heralds a strange end: “You should be an astronaut and growing vegetables on Mars, like that stupid Matt Damon movie”. This fits the song title, it appears.
Looking back over the project, there seems to be a thematic line through the whole thing, one of mood that dwells largely in sadness. Even going from “Scarlett’s Web” to following track, “Pillow Fight”, you notice this. This can be surmised from the lyrics, going from “I see where my body is, but my heart’s faraway” to “and I’ll be reeling from the impact like the rest of my entire life”.
Then there appears to be a transition of sorts in “Trier”, as if to be a trier, someone determined to turn around their life of misery. Indeed, come midway there’s guitar chiming in before chugging hopeful. Is this as if to breakaway, a way out from, winter and into spring, perhaps? At this point it’s pondered, given the title of the EP, that maybe some sort of seasonal affective disorder is being explored.
Arguable highlight, and final track, “Space Dreams Of You Too”, sounds almost autumnal. You picture leaves falling from trees, and that perhaps, via “Trier”, winter’s been escaped. Maybe some sort of trick of time has brought you before winter, rather than after it. Or, maybe, that well of sadness is so deep you can longer differentiate between a season of budding leaves, and that of falling leaves.
Analog Candle have come forward with something that largely, consistently dwells in, to some extent, profound sadness. This is certainly in the lyrical stakes, though musically it does, indeed, deviate from this from time to time. The likes of The Smiths definitely did this, crestfallen and despondent in lyric, though sometimes even, daresay, joyful in instrumentation. Analog Candle’s Winter ‘15 can be purchased, here.
Words by Andrew Watson
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