Wednesday, 16 March 2011

What the nu folk? - Candidate


Nu folk is the name associated with a loosely associated series of bands and singers whose music seems to set echoes of earlier folk music in a pop song setting. It does feel a bit of a marketing ploy as there have been plenty of others before Noah and the Whale , Mumford and Sons etc came along.

One of these fore runners is 3 piece (although often helped out by a collective of other musicians) Candidate.

I'll quote from the bands website


At the very fag end of 1998, after years in other bands making a noise in rehearsal rooms, Candidate turned their back on the noisier end of their record collections and recorded a series of basement demos (at a volume that wouldn't disturb the neighbours) that pricked record company interest.

After a few bruising experiences at the hands of a confused and bewildered music industry, the band took matters into their own hands, and began releasing records themselves. The Snowstorm label was willed into existence and three increasingly confident EPs were put out, ending with the “Leader” EP, whose catchy, thumping title track, with its upbeat, Nilssonesque chorus, gained the band an enthusiastic following.

A first album, "Taking On The Enemy's Sound" came out in April 2000. An independently released, self-financed, self-produced record, Candidate's first album stood out like a sore thumb, and got suitably enthusiastic reviews.

Candidate had never really planned to be a live band, so they played a single celebratory gig and went into hiding, building their own home studios so they could work quietly without time limits or outside pressure.

Obsessively writing and recording for six months before finding the right blend of ideas for their new record, dozens of songs were completed and summarily rejected.

Finally, it clicked. In two parallel home studios on different sides of London, a set of tracks were worked up that took the band where they wanted to go. More considered, layered and textured than the spare music on the first album, this was somehow a much more intimate and personal record than the band had attempted before.

“Tiger Flies” was a sprawling, wilful oddity, filled with fingerpicked guitars and wheezing synthesizers, clattering drum machines and cavernous flutes. More ambitious than its predecessor, with a wider range of influences, Tiger Flies was a confident and ear-catching achievement. The record was picked as Album of The Week by The Sunday Times and hailed everywhere as announcing the arrival of a band to watch.


It was with Tiger Flies that I picked up on the band. The lps does have a folky feel but what you really notice is the melody and an ear for a catchy tune



Wreck of the Breeze - Candidate



What happened next was the band took a further step to the folk and recorded and imaginary soundtrack to the film The Wicker Man, recording on location and staying in the same hotel where Edward Woodward's doomed policeman stayed and Britt Ekland's body double did a dance.



Not wanting to get pigeon holed as a nu folk band (before the name nu folk had been used !) They changed direction with the next lp Under the Skylon and went for a more widescreen sound as the songs covered the ride and fall of a love affair, but explored through the metaphor of the Skylon built for the 1951 festival of Britain (so much for straight forward pop/rock songs)



Nothing Between us But Sky - Candidate



Another lp followed which I've not yet heard although I soon will as you can download the back catalogue here for the princely sum of £1:28 per lp (it is publicised on the band's website so it isn't a dodgy rip off)

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