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ATP! Album Review: Candy Hearts – The Best Ways To Disappear EP

Your response to Candy Hearts’ latest EP "The Best Ways To Disappear" will depend on what you’re in the mood for. Under one circumstance, you’re feeling a little‘90s and looking to forget the full-time job or master's degree you’ve recently taken on. In this case, Candy Hearts are perfect for the late-teen that hasn’t quite left you yet. The latest installment of Candy Hearts tracks reduces every common denominator of the American teenage experience to the littlest moments, like pretending you’re ticklish so your boyfriend will put his hands on you or writing some swear on a dirty car window.

There’s an appeal to preoccupying your brain with the situations you used to genuinely worry about when you were young. 'Bad Idea' starts the EP off with this appeal in its reminiscing composition of a lost track off "Enema of the State" and its all-too-familiar brain-verse-heart war. It’s a collection of fragmented moments with your significant other that occur while knowing in the back of your head all the flirtation is probably going to screw you over in the long-term.

But you care enough about this guy to write a song about him, and he doesn’t give enough of a shit about you to even ask how you feel, so you just keep doing what you’re doing because it’s already a reckless situation anyway. It’s a state of mind that soaks the EP, and continues with 'Matchbox' - a track that feels tongue-tied, tied-up and weirded-out; with its biggest lyrical moment being “Sometimes I think I might like you”, you’re faced with just how young Candy Hearts’ songs are.

'Miles and Interstates' takes you even deeper back in time with the 'Thing & Thing' trend of the Dashboard era. A brief moment of radioed-out guitar is a subtle highlight, but lyrics surprisingly hit hard with “I can’t forget the way we spent the day in bed / you pulled the sheets over our faces / so I could hear your / your whispering / and you looked at me with those eyes that told me that you could see inside me,” a rare moment of timeless human experience in an otherwise juvenile setting.

The California pop pumps up on 'Replacement Parts' with a tambourine shaker and the continuation of hating yourself for being so awkward and a little dumb, featuring a great hook that probably should have been emphasized more in the studio by producer Chad Gilbert (who has also signed the band to his new label). It’s followed by 'Sick of It', whose acoustic intro could have supported the intro to Tigers Jaw’s 'Never Saw it Coming' and which similarly picks back up to deny us of the mandatory acoustic sample of a relatively-new band’s EP. The song is the most loving way to sing about someone’s frustrations, as parts of an apartment you’ve abused have been manifested into symbols of your general dissatisfaction with life.

'Ticklish' rounds us out with the ever-present theme of the innocence of new relationships. And if you’re in the mood for it, the track will be a perfect ender to an album of your life at 15.

But if you’re not in the mood, the Candy Hearts EP could potentially be a bit of a drag, where Mariel Loveland’s vocals add an extra sweetness to a band that sometimes sound too much like adults playing kids, formulating a work that is potentially too sweet for a candy-named band. It wouldn’t hurt to put a little sophistication into the songwriting, both lyrically and musically, as every track sticks to its quarter-notes and is streamlined without emphasis on any particular riff or breakdown. But if you're in the mood, Candy Hearts might just sweet enough.


Carolyn Vallejo

"The Best Ways To Disappear" EP is out November 6th through Violently Happy/Bridge 9 Records.

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