The Candle Thieves - Sunshine and Other Misfortunes
Rob Mulholland 22/04/2010
World, stop holding your breath; finally, it has happened. At last a band has fused the teenage -ear-friendly sounds of Owl City with the not-at-all-cloying-and-lazy lyrics of Scouting for Girls and the kerazy sense of humour of The Hoosiers! Hurrah, let us rejoice.
The Candle Thieves are Scott McEwan and “The Glock” (I'm leaving that alone...) two smart young chaps from Peterborough; the sort of boys your mum used to invite round to tea, and then ask you “Why can't you be more like Glockie? He's so lovely...”, and all the while you sat there glumly shovelling your mashed potato into your rage-boiled face wishing you could ram your stainless steel fork right through their stainless face because they're just so nice. According their bio, the Glockster used to be in “a Keane-like band who made the top forty” and for all you Keane fans out there (perhaps your carer will read this out to you if you ask nicely), I'm glad to report that the influence isn't completely lost in this new project, oh no sonny Jim, The Glockmeister General has made sure to keep on being as offensively inoffensive as possible.
Listening to 'Sunshine...' is a bit like being slapped round the face with a sock full of Prozac over and over, until your face is bleeding Haribo. Then being force-fed Angel Delight until you vomit pink foam all over the Hello Kitty costume you're being forced to wear by your demented Saw-style torturer. Sort of See-Saw Marjorie Daw, if you will. It's just so saccharine.
The album opens with the same song twice, as far as I can ascertain. 'We're All Going to Die (Have Fun)' and 'The Sunshine Song' both use exactly the same thematic device, basically 'enjoy life while you can, cos, y'know, death and that', the same unbearably cutesy toy instruments tootling along in the background and the same wacky effects liberally applied at any point where a 14-year-old girl with an internet era attention span might be tempted to skip to the next harmless bit of fluff waved in their face. The old 'silence and then wacka-wacka-dropinthegaragebandsampledbreakbeat' gets a good few outings as do various 'comedic' shouts and grunts and 'kooky' wailing trumpets. These songs are like the bloke at the office party with his tie on his head shouting “LOOK AT ME I'M SO QUIRKY”.
In Sharks and Bears (Sometimes I dream about sharks/Sometimes I dream about bears), for example, you really never get the sense that these are metaphors for anything. It sounds like McEwan and Glockhead mean that they literally dream about sharks and bears, and leaves the listener feeling thoroughly patronised.
Through the album such weighty topics as being in a field ('Catching Wasps') and going on holiday and missing someone a bit (The Singapore Trilogy; yep, three songs from that source material). Everything is delivered with either lark-about cheeky chappie smirks or breathy, over-emoted sadface, depending on whether Scott and Glockinho are in a field or on holiday and missing someone a bit. This is a plastic, depth-less album, it feels like it was put together by a focus group.
It's all very easy for me to sneer and poke holes in this record, but in fairness, it will most likely do very well, bespoke tailored as it is for Bacardi-Breezered-up hairdressers to shriek along to at V Festival, due to it's simplicity, endless repetition and squeaky clean shine. It's not for the likes of you and me. So let's just shut our ears very tight and try not to feel queasy the 89th time in a week you hear the single from 'Sunshine,,,' on the telly, radio or coming out of shitty mobile phone speakers on the bus in a few months time. Good luck Glocker, enjoy the dollar.