Published Jun 09, 2014Like their name suggests, Candy Hearts' brand of pop-punk is sweet and naive. And given the past decade's boy-band-ification of the genre, their unabashed throwback sound is a welcome one. Opening track "I Miss You," quickly lays out their M.O.: crunchy guitars, sing-along choruses and hooks galore. Despite being squarely rooted in the DIY scene of America's Northeast, "pop" isn't something the New York group are afraid of.
It's tempting to compare singer Mariel Loveland's vocals with Hayley Williams', but indie-tinged punks Lemuria are a much more apt match. Loveland lacks the former's range but also her sense of unnecessary bombast; she's willing to let the emotional weight of her lyrics speak for themselves. Produced by New Found Glory's Chad Gilbert, the band's third album is slicker than previous efforts, but Gilbert wisely refrains from stacking up walls of guitars and vocals. Instead, All the Ways You Let Me Down is a warm and organic sounding record. Yet even at only 11 tracks, the record feels over-long. Several tracks in its back half fail to connect, probably due to a lack of diversity in the song writing.
Candy Hearts are reaching for the sweet spot between pop and punk, and on certain tracks, they almost get there. But swinging for the fence doesn't guarantee a home run: All the Ways You Let me Down is a charming record with plenty to like, just not enough to love. (Bridge Nine)