Glass Candy - Deep Gems
Disco! Disco Duck! DISCO! It's true, me and the snooty clique of club/dance/electro/whatever had grown apart. “It's not you, it's me”, etc. I started seeing guitars and even banjos. There was an ugly scene at a party and yes, I uttered the legend “faceless dance bollox”. But recently something changed, we started to find each other at the strangest of places. I started to see lights (possibly a strobe)...and yes, a personality! Lawks-a-lordy! A magical cavern of Crystal Castles, Kap Bambinos, Little Boots, Heartsrevolutions, Fan Deaths, La Chansons and those Mobsters at Italians Do It Better, of which Glass Candy are truly The Dons.
Glass Candy may fall under the achingly hip boy/girl electronica banner but they're built on art rock foundations. From their noms de guerre - Ida No & Johnny Jewel - to the kaleidoscope lyrics, 'event' gigs (future dates include “31/05/10 Ballroom Of Mars”), costumes and artwork they make a Herculean effort to create a fantasy island and are Pop Stars in the making.
Deep Gems rounds up the odds 'n' sods from GC's past few years and follows 2007's B/E/A/T/B/O/X which saw the once screechy post punkers reignited as an ethereal disco inferno. In a nutshell they aim to harness the madness and darkness of Studio 54 via a riot of space noises, big-time sensuality and glimpses of teary goodbyes.
Singer Ida No makes a compelling compère. She often sounds anaesthetised or coolly disconnected, but she has enough character to read the ingredients off a cereal box and make it sound like a rollercoaster ride of derring-do. Crucially for a Trainee Pop Icon she also knows the mystical power of a seemingly spontaneous “Ow-ah” or “Woo!” yelp. Never underestimate the magic of the “Woo”. They're sprinkled like stardust across everything GC do (particularly The Beat's Alive) and they're hilarious and utterly captivating.
Following the acclimatisation to Planet Candy on Introduction, pulse signals beckon the Mothership and we're away. From the crystal meth Ronnettes of Feeling Without Touching to the blissed out Silver Fountain they're always digging for diamonds even if they bring back the odd lump of coal.
Geto Boys (an Isaac Hayes cover) is the Funky President. As funky as Quincy Jones, Bootsy Collins and Deee Lite collectively stroking the technicolour dreamcoat of Funk. There's even a children's choir. Let's just hope they were recorded in separate studios. The ass shaking ascends 'til its funkadelic muthas call for revolution, “This summer is gonna be sick... all our friends look good and we're coming to see you...for a good time call Glass Candy, don't be shy”. Like damn, I knew I should've stuck to the blue ones like everyone else.
Belle Epoque's Ms Broadway also gets a nip 'n' tuck and looks all the better for it. More sophisticated than their previous rendition it's impossible not to literally shake your booty down to the ground. With Ida singing like she needs sectioning, some crappily fab bontempi horns and strings exhumed from '77, I was compelled to throw some badass shapes and do the worm across the kitchen floor. Even the kids' choir returns, “A-ha I like it”. Like proper disco there are talky bits, “You see something you want? Well why don't you come over here”. It collapses in a heap with a demented crash, one euphoric “Ow-wa”, and we're spent.
They're smart enough to acknowledge every dancefloor has shadows and every disco dies. On the brief instrumental Theme from Deep Gems they remove their hi-hats and bow those smiley faces, whilst Stars & Houses – an elegiac remodel of Digital Versicolor - redresses Ida as Hamlet's doomed Ophelia handing out flowers. Well that or special 'smarties', “This is red, this is orange, this is yellow”. It's bonkers and as scary as discovering the disco bunny you pulled last night is actually an escaped mental patient. Every bloody time! It's a stylissimo moment and screams “Depth! How low can you go?” The comedown continues on Somethings Stirring In Space, “Feel the pressure so we frown, pressure's only nothing”. Led by a orphaned flute, its clipped, matter-of-fact lyrics feel like they're translated from another world. It's frozen Buck Rogers drifting through oceans of time waiting to be thawed out by some intergalactic crumpet in a chain bikini. Yes, that's exactly it.
Despite the shadows it's primarily a good times record with devilish humour from hostess Ida's winning line in nudge 'n' wink sauce. I'm betting “Soft boundaries slipping, can slip you in, harness the snake that weaves and rises” isn't a metaphorical treatise about the expansion of the European Union.
The weakest link is instrumental Touching The Morning Mist, ropey sci-fi doodlings notable only for having a sax riff which sounds like a robotic elephant in need of Lemsip. Fans may be mystified this was chosen over ace rarities Covered in Bugs or Nite Nurses (Rough) which tonight are both still looking for a loving home.
Deep Gems sucks you in like a Dyson and belches you out the other side dizzy, giddy and covered in ectoplasmic goo. A good night out then. I'm a method reviewer so rest assured my debaucheries were in the name of research and art. Just pity my neighbours. Whilst no B/E/A/T/B/O/X beater - any halfway house for waifs 'n' strays inevitably lacks the cohesive arc of a bonafide album - it does illuminate the path for their next voyage. So raise your Glass and toast 2009, A Disco Odyssey, the year of the sick electronic revolution.