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Candy Carol

In the first track on their third album, this quartet of art-college alumni explicitly state their desire to deliver music that’s ”candy to our ears/sweet to the taste.” In subsequent numbers, Book of Love go on to embrace such cheery confections as buttercups, butterflies, and sunny days. Devoid of meat and potatoes, their childlike prose threatens to get queasily precious, almost as if all this simplicity were some condescending kind of smoke screen. Yet more often than not, Candy Carol‘s electronic soda-pop sound is wonderful enough to put over its innocent lyrical wonder. Exquisitely layered pre-hippie harmonies quote old soul and doo-wop classics (and even Christmas hymns). Ted Ottavino’s computerized keyboards realign succulent ’60s melodies into dance-floor-ready ’90s hooks. Sonic surprises keep sneaking in. Tinker Toy-like percussion, toy soldier-size snare drums, revving moped motors. When the mood turns gloomy, in tunes like ”Wall Song” and ”Counting the Rosaries,” in which Italian disco synthesizers counter high-mass moans and strings, it’s as unnerving as seeing a kindergartner in a funeral home. And for unpremeditated eroticism, there’s the part where one of the three female vocalists murmurs in sleep-talk tones about another girl making her quiver. Pretty audacious for bubble gum. A-

Candy Carol
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