Fantastical, surreal and dreamy indie outfit Sugar Candy Mountain release ‘666’ their third release since 2011. Consisting mainly of writing duo Ash Reiter and Will Halsey Sugar Candy Mountain are an eclectic and entrancing group from Oakland/ Joshua Tree, which may explain the frankly alien sound this record possesses. Wherever you find Joshua Tree by association in music you can be assured that it will have a sound all of its own, often trippy but comforting, exciting yet dazed.
The vocals sound as if Zooe Deschanel took peyote and went wailing through the desert for days, sweetly singing quirky country songs as the evening sun was stretched out and the sky faded purple to pink. This pleasant tripping seems consistent from start to finish to the point that the end of the final track rings in a sudden drop back to reality, which is easily the only unpleasant thing about the album.
Tracks such as ‘Eye on you’ make use of MGMT style baselines and general pop perkiness whilst the lyrics reference everybody’s favourite Nazi occupied musical ‘The Sound of Music’ with opening line “far is a long long way to run”. Beyond this the lyrical content comes across as charmingly quick witted with the continuation “near, well it’s just too close for comfort/ I’ve got my eye/ I’ve got my eye on you/ you know you’ve been/ watching me too”. This could be the breakout track of the album if it wasn’t all so endearing.
‘666’ is what pop music sounds like through rose coloured glasses, or rose tinted headphones? Either way the album offers up a dreamy landscape for you to disappear into for thirty five minutes or so as you digest the psychedelic guitar, gently melting vocal harmonies and a touch of that little used instrument the vibraphone. The vibraphone is hardly the most common instrument accredited on this album however it may be familiar to fans of Jazz in which the xylophone – style instrument was often considered a part of the rhythm section, which may explain why it so well lends an ethereal tone to the album.
Perhaps it’s the lovely weather we’ve been having or the light summer breeze but something about this record makes it feel like a summer romance, initially exciting and all consuming whilst also being something to look back on fondly in years to come.
‘666’ is out now on PIAPTK Records
This Sugar Candy Mountain article was written by Jacob Atkins, a GIGsoup contributor