Menacing Chamber Blues

Sometimes I just have to gush. I don’t know much about the Candy Bars (MySpace page), but I do know they’re a new-ish trio from Tampa. I’ve never read an article about them, I’ve only heard that they were great at SXSW. What I have heard for myself is their new album, On Cutting Ti-Gers in Half and Understanding Narravation, and I can tell you—without hyperbole—that it is the finest piece of music I’ve heard this year, hands down. This was completely obvious from the first time I heard “Violets.” (mp3) Yes, this is. Wow, this is. Wow.

So what kind of music is this? Here’s a stab: menacing chamber blues. Wha? This is new territory we’re dealing with here, so somebody better give it a try. It’s kind of folky, it’s more often than not orchestral, the vocals are grand in scale, the lyrics so intimate. In fact, there are few occasions where I’d describe male vocals as “breathtaking,” but then here it is; the last time I was so taken with a voice it would have been Jeremy Enigk from Sunny Day Real Estate, to whom these throaty vocals are an easy comparison. It goes a lot further than that, though—this is breathtaking beyond compare, and difficult to separate It’s all a BIG voice, an urgency, a secret that they’re aching to get out.

Every single song here—every single song—is a new step toward something hazy and beautiful. The overall effect is stunning, and I am having a severe emotional reaction to this. I truly believe this: A new door in music has just been opened, and I can’t hear anything the same way again.

Mp3: “Violets”
Mp3: “Enough to Choke a Cold Air”


Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack

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