Published Jul 25, 2010Candy Claws are an unorthodox band from Fort Collins, CO just barely into their 20s. Formed after members met at an Evangelical church, the eight-piece released a couple of albums that flew under the radar, but Hidden Lands will change that. Though you'd never guess it by listening, the album was written on a keyboard without any members knowing how to use one. That may leave little to the imagination, but this is far from synth pop. It's Candy Claws' imagination that makes them such an anomaly. By applying ideas like reinterpreting text from Richard Ketchum's The Secret Life of the Forest and sampling their songs, peppering them throughout the record, they've built their unique wonderland. Dense blankets of reverb make it sound like a heavy accumulation of snow fell in the studio, percussion flutters in the same oscillating motion as Sean O'Hagan's High Llamas and Ryan Hover and Kay Bertholf sing their warm, soothing harmonies as if they're hushing a baby to sleep. It all sounds a bit like Kevin Shields re-imagining an album as sad and whimsical as the Beach Boys' Surf's Up, and yet also like nothing else out there.
What made you write the album using keyboards when you didn't know how to play them?
Hover: Since our hands didn't know where to go on the keys, we had to rely on our ears instead and determine which notes sounded right for the feelings. We had to build each chord note by note and find melodies to go along with them.
Where did the idea to use samples of every song on the album come from?
Daft Punk mash up all their songs for their live show ― that was the inspiration. We just thought it would be cool to see if we could do it too, and took it a little too far. It got very difficult to find places where two songs could interact, because we use strange chords. It would be easy with a bunch of songs that are just based on major root chords, but there are few times on the album when a normal major chord appears.
How is the album a companion to Richard Ketchum's The Secret Life of the Forest?
For our lyrics, we took sentences from the book and ran them through translation software, back and forth between English and Japanese, until the science came out as strange poetry. (Twosyllable)