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The Candeliers Conjure Vintage Folk-Pop on Overdue Debut

May. 20, 2009
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"We got to the point where we were ready to do a record," Riles Walsh of The Candeliers says about the timing of the group's long-overdue first album. "We're coming into our third year as a band and we had all these songs; we were just to that point."

Walsh and his folk-pop troupe had indeed worked up a solid repertoire of their trademark, sunny-style, '60s-influenced pop, resplendent with banjos, brass and strings and detailed arrangements.

"We changed-up bass players, so our style has changed a bit, especially with our new bass player, Ryan Miracle," Walsh explains. "He has an upright bass and he also plays electric bass, so that was a new addition. We had a gap when our old upright bass player left and, for six months, we didn't have one, so we had that time to write songs."

After committing tracks for 7-inches and singles at the Activities Recordings space to tape, The Candeliers decided to take themselves out of the recording mix for their full-length debut and take to the studio with Justin Perkins, an engineer at Smart Studios. "Justin Perkins is good friends with Nate [Norfolk, banjo player] from way back when," Walsh says. "I liked the stuff that he did before, and [compared to recording ourselves] it was relatively painless. In my opinion, the less you have to think about technology, the more you can think about what you're doing. It also allowed us to bring in guest musicians who played some of the string arrangements that I had written out."

The resulting self-titled album holds a rich sound evoking many of the stalwart folk and baroque pop classics of decades gone by-The Zombies, The Mamas and the Papas, Herman's Hermits-and even contemporaries such as The Essex Green and Elf Power. Boy/girl harmonies, epic fairy-tale references and minor to major chord resolutions create these echoes of their peers.

"A lot of the stuff we write about is sort of mythical and when we went on tour, the summer before the last, this really quirky guy in Nashville told us that our band sounded like Chad and Jeremy, and the album that he referenced was Of Cabbages and Kings," Walsh says.

The Candeliers will debut their storytelling songs at a CD release show this weekend. "The Goodnight Loving will be there," Walsh notes. "Heidi Spencer will be playing with a little band she got together; she's calling them 'The Rare Birds.' We're going to play the CD all the way through, as verbatim as we can. It's a pretty good set length, but we're going to have a couple of breaks … I was really inspired by other bands playing their albums through, lately: Sonic Youth played Daydream Nation all the way through at Bonnaroo and My Bloody Valentine played Loveless in Chicago last year."

Sounds like the perfect way to premiere an album long in the works: in proper epic format.

The Candeliers release their self-titled CD at Linneman's Riverwest Inn (1001 E. Locust St.) on Friday, May 22. Also playing: The Goodnight Loving and Heidi Spencer and The Rare Birds.


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