Suck It and See

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Breathy Brit-pop and club beats, Candyland's debut never got out of the molasses swamp of indifference. It's a good effort and, despite singer Felix Tod's admonition on the opening track, plenty precious, but that's not a knock. This sort of atmospheric and emotional wilting over life is the legacy of the new romantic movement, and it's worked for bands like Scritti Politti, Electronic, et cetera. Tod's a mopey sort, and like Morrissey, he sidesteps the issue of sexuality (although when your debut is decorated with bananas and called Suck It and See, what's left to be said?). The club beats are occasionally interesting, like Big Audio Dynamite without the vocal samples, while the bass and guitar are mere afterthoughts. Nothing from Suck It and See was a hit, though three tracks did get remixed as singles: "Fountain O' Youth," "Kingdom," and "Bitter Moon." The latter is the best of that batch, while "The Body Is the Book" should have been accorded the same honor. It's too bad they didn't get an encore, because cuts like the closing "We Will Not Leave" suggest the band had bigger designs than dance music. The trouble with trying to compete in that market is the faceless nature of pop/club music: Without a good gimmick, you're going down. Tod and guitarist David Ayers Jr. resurfaced in support of Heather Nova, but Suck It and See remains unanswered. It's a nice, light listen for the vaguely dissatisfied, but music like this requires a certain image, and Candyland never got the chance to develop one.

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