In early December 2015 we were graced with a fresh track from Melbourne’s party lads – Lunatics on Pogosticks. The track I’m referencing is of course MDMAtes, a short teaser of what’s to come from the boys later this year. However whilst we patiently wait, the Loonies’ very own Calum Newton has just dropped his third solo album to date under his alias Candy…impressive effort.
Putting down his pogo stick, Calum Newton offers us his third Candy album Azure. Sweet natured and drenched in post-pop, you don’t want to miss this.
Kicking off his solo career in 2013, Calum Newton dove into the deep end with Bildungsorman – a full-length album with twelve tracks of lo-fi angle pop. Newton followed this release with Wrapped In Plastic, yet another full-length release featuring a further eight tracks of laid-back synth driven pop. Two weeks ago Newton dropped his latest and greatest effort entitled Azure – gracefully merging the finest elements from his previous solo efforts into one coherent package.
Azure is a package of post-pop jungle, crawling with ever-sprawling melodies and hooks that seamlessly take blissful tangents through musical notions. The majority of tracks throughout Azure embrace a strong emphasis on melancholy and somewhat somber subject maters, including but not limited to heartache, and insecurity.
However the uplifting melodic composition along with the notable idyllic harmonies fashions an elevating soundscape, striking an unspoiled balance between grief and joy. I guess this is an enjoyable listen regardless of the mood you happen to fall into.
Azure kicks off with Chapel Street, lolling with lo-fi synth textures, glassy guitar expressions and undeniably catchy melodic and harmonic vocal presence. Although not the most multi-dimensional track here, Chapel Street still makes for an attractive and sedative experience despite the gloomy word play which I can only assume tackles social anxiety and the scramble of city life.
So Close is certainly one of the highlights personally. The funky-ass post-pop riff not only makes you groove in the right ways, the chorus is one of, if not the most infectious on offer here. Seriously I love the riff here, it’s really hitting those tasty post-punk vibes leaning ever slightly to Joy Division. Moreover the constant back and forth between vocal tracks is an excellent touch.
Lets dive into the tale of a struggling artist facing neglect, disappointment and embarrassment featured on Fremdshämen. Despite the blissful upbeat atmospheres provided by the dreamy instrumentation, Newton paints a different picture through his lyricism. Newton sings from a place of regret and longing here – “I don’t want to disappoint you anymore” and “you still try to hide me from your mum and dad”.
Newton proceeds to list his ambitions to improve his strained relationship, “One day I’ll get a job”, “I’ll buy a car”, “I’ll get a gym membership”, “Your parents will love me”. I think there are a fair few struggling artists or students who can relate to the themes expressed in Fremdshämen.
After just 30 minutes we are presented with the closer, the title track of the record. Unlike the other tracks on Azure we are greeted with the warmth of an acoustic guitar for an all round more serene and simplistic approach. Honestly this closing track is one of those that should go on forever, despite leaving as with a short two and a half-minute affair. The lucid repetition and indolent sensations here are addictive as hell, dare I say meditative. Nevertheless Azure ended this listen on a high note with a welcoming change.
All things considered, I’m fairly impressed with Newton’s effort. For a low budget lo-fi recording these tracks came out exceptionally well. Furthermore the melodic infectiousness Newton puts forward is irrefutably a powerful asset to possess; I have no doubt in my mind that if used wisely it has the potential to get him far.
You can check out Candy’s latest album Azure along with his past releases via his Bandcamp page; the download link is free, so please help yourself. Or if you’re feeling extra hyped about Azure you can order a limited cassette tape, likewise from the Candy Bandcamp page.