Monday, August 10, 2015

RECORD REVIEW: Candy Hearts "All the Ways You Let Me Down"

Candy Hearts
All the Ways You
Let Me Down
(Bridge 9 Records)

One of my favorite pop / rock
classics is "'C' is for Cookie"
— the iconic 1971 hit from
vocal powerhouse, Cookie
MonsterAnd it occurred to
me recently that not only does
cookie start with the letter "C,"
but also many of my other
favorite things — particularly
when it comes to music. I love
crunchy riffs, clever lyrics
and catchy melodies — all
woven into concise earworms.

Singer, guitarist and Candy Hearts frontchick Mariel Loveland possesses an unbridled passion for coffee and considerable disdain for "stupid boys." She also writes incredibly crunchy, clever, catchy, and concise pop / rock songs...

Produced by New Found Glory guitarist, Chad Gilbert, All the Ways You Let Me Down met with high praise from such prestigious publications as Billboard and Spin when it first arrived in stores and online during the summer of 2014. Regrettably, the New Jersey-based combo didn't pop up on my personal radar until I discovered the band performing among 90+ other sweat-soaked acts on the Vans Warped Tour during the summer of 2015. A textbook example of "better late than never," Candy Hearts impressed me thoroughly as one of the three best bands that I saw at this year's day-long, outdoor rock festival. In fact, I was so captivated by their songs, I made my way to the Candy Hearts merch tent, posthaste, following the band's set to purchase their now year-old sophomore record.

I had only one thing to say
to Mariel Loveland following
Candy Hearts' performance
last month in Orlando, FL 
"You write great songs!"
Along with bassist John Clifford and drummer Matthew Ferraro, Loveland reflects the best and brightest aspects of the '90s pop / rock era throughout this spirited 11-song collection. But although one certainly can't help recognizing the influence of such golden oldies acts as Veruca Salt, The Cranberries and Lisa Loeb, All the Ways You Let Me Down ain't gonna take ya on a nostalgia trip. The music is refreshingly crisp, and the lyrics — uniquely personal. Enhanced further by Gilbert's production and co-songwriting contribution, the record is as "now" as an iPhone 10. In fact, the Loveland / Gilbert-penned lead off track, "I Miss You," was touted in the press as being one of last year's best songs. 
The latest from Candy Hearts sounds
like a magical Skittles shower.
As an admitted die-hard Josie and the Pussycats fan, All the Ways You Let Me Down oozes non-stop payoff. Engaging and energetic, this collection is so cohesive that acknowledging a particular track or specific highlight would be, for me, about as easy as choosing a favorite episode of Full House. No joke this record is that strong. But if held at gunpoint and forced to offer a recommendation, I'd likely lean toward "The Dream's Not Dead" or maybe "The One to Get Me Out." But then again, "Michigan" is SO darn snappy — ugh, I never could keep a secret, ;-) 

In sum, I get kinda excited about discovering a new band with a slew of super-fun songs. And in 2015 I was searching desperately for that one great "summer jam" record. With All the Ways You Let Me Down, Candy Hearts delivered exactly that. I just wish I hadn't been a year late arriving at the party.

-Christopher Long
(August 2015)

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