Candy Claws / The Elwins The Drake Underground, Toronto ON July 6

Candy Claws / The Elwins The Drake Underground, Toronto ON July 6
Putting a face to a name is always a curious experience when you discover a new band online. Fort Collins, CO's Candy Claws were a prime example of this in their debut Toronto appearance. Most of the eight-piece were first spotted flailing their bodies dizzily in delight over the saccharine sounds of opening act the Elwins. The fresh-faced trio from nearby Aurora, ON definitely struck a note with more than just Candy Claws thanks to some plucky, tightly-wound indie pop. If only the Elwins could have mustered up some of the spectators' energy themselves, remaining motionless and mostly pokerfaced throughout their brief opening set.

Candy Claws, however, made up for it, immediately making a strong impression by emitting a similar zest on stage as they did off. The eightsome lined up divisively, with the adorable percussionist Mckenzie giving the band their visual pop in the centre. Her role may be to bang on the tambourine or shake some sleigh bells, but the sparkle she brought made her vital, as she galloped and swayed to the wistful music. Band leaders Ryan Hover and Kay Bertholf managed to squeeze their diffident, washed-out harmonies through the opaque wall of sound. For such a young crew too (some are only 19 years of age), Hover seemed at ease, cracking absurd one-liners and winning over the thin crowd with his offbeat charm.

While Candy Claws sound twice their size on albums like last year's In the Dream of the Sea Life and the upcoming Hidden Lands, live they work under modest conditions. The density of their lush, orchestral sound is the product of using keyboards and sequencers, which can either throw you off or earn your respect for achieving so much with so little. Knowing they only have a handful of shows under their belt to date and a new album that will set the blogs alight, it was hard not to think that a year from now Candy Claws will be considered a must-see band. If it's not for their inevitable growth as performers, than it will be for their undeniable charm.