The Candle Thieves - The Sunshine EP
Straight outta Peterborough, The Candle Thieves piqued our interest here at The Music Fix a couple of months back when they announced a tour of fans’ back gardens. What initially appeared to be a completely lunatic notion now with the release of The Sunshine EP begins to make perfect sense. The Candle Thieves prove themselves here to be adept at carefully crafting shimmering pop tunes which sound effortlessly carefree and joyful. The ideal place to hear such music is surely not in some manky club with sticky floors and a broken urinal, no this is music to be heard with the wind in your hair and a cheese and cucumber sandwich in your hand. My only quibble with their strategy is that mid September is, shall we say, an optimistic time to release something called the Sunshine EP.
One cannot help but be charmed by a band that augments its sound with toy instruments, and listening to the EP it’s difficult to shake off the mental image of Linus hunched over his tiny piano in the Peanuts comic strips. Not that this release lacks sophistication; as far as pop music goes this has potential premier league standard. Maybe the football analogy leaps to mind due to the unmistakable similarity of their sound to that of the Lightning Seeds, a band that launched a thousand football highlight shows. This similarity is most evident on the exuberant Sunshine Song which skips merrily through your head, pausing only for some Motown handclaps and a glug of fizzy pop before hitting us with the reminder that we are all going to die someday. Somehow they manage to get away with confronting us starkly with our own mortality, proving that a little sugar coating can sweeten the bitterest pill.
The Sunshine Song is, however, the best track on the EP by quite some distance, it lodges itself in the brain and you’ll maybe catch yourself humming along to it whether you are filling up with petrol or pouring hot water over your pot noodles. Without pouring cold water on the rest of the material on the EP it has to be said that it lacks that infectious insistence of the lead track. Not that it is without merit. My Love Will Clap Its Hands For You is a more maudlin tune, a mood emphasised by the persistent keyboard motif which recalls Eleanor Rigby. Well, if you are going to steal then do it from the best. In fact, for an ostensibly happy-go-lucky band there's a definite dark undercurrent to this release, most sharply evident in the admission during The State That I'm In that I don't fit in to this life. By the time we arrive at final track Lonely, Lonely, Lonely the joy of The Sunshine Song seems a distant memory, with the title telling its own story. It is, however, a gently beautiful track which will surely see lighters held aloft in gardens up and down the land.
The Candle Thieves appear to be genuinely likeable chaps who are making all of the right moves. I can't imagine these boys chucking any televisions out of hotel room windows. In fact my lawn could do with a bit of a trim; I might invite them over for a gig and see if they offer to cut the grass and wash the car while they are about it.