A new arrival on the playlist is Candythief with their latest offering ‘Technicolour Wilderness’. At full strength the band are Jem Doulton on drums and beatific backing vocals, jason Simpson on bass, Jason Dickinson on fiddle and the unmistakeable voice of lead singer and guitarist Diana de Cabarrus.
Candythief used to be Diana and her guitar, the bigger sound they now have, thanks to their growth in numbers, has enabled them to explore and experiment with new sounds which is demonstrated well in this album. I’ve not heard anything like it and it has a totally original sound. You don’t stick music like this in a genre…Candythief are not bound by the whims of the commercial music industry afterall. It’s hard to pull comparisons to describe their music although Diana has been compared to Polly Harvey, Cat Power and Joanna Newsom. She does have a very sexy sultry voice which I’m a complete sucker for so I was hitting replay a lot. ‘Foreign Sands’ was one track that grew on me with each listen. A haunting fiddle introduces you to Diana singing “you are lining your nest, with the feathers that I gave you…” backed with some clever harmonising from Jem. Neck shivering stuff. The album is cleverly paced from the rockier ‘Dry Land’ to the more acoustic sounding track ‘The Wedding Dress’. This is an outstanding album and if you ever get a chance to see them live then take it.
Diana has also recorded a collaboration with Domino’s finest, Adem, co-written and guested on a selection of albums from lush ambient electronica (Neotropic), grinding post punk (Huw Stephens-tipped band Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences) to post primal scream Scottish indie (Viva Stereo) and has been invited to play live with everyone from Malcolm Middleton, Richard James, James Yorkston, Adrian Crowley, Pete Molinari and King Creosote to The Mystery Jets, Razorlight and The Subways. She was also voted 2nd (after Bjork and before PJ Harvey and Amy Winehouse) in the Is This Music? End of year poll 07 in the category of best female fronted act, & was the only unsigned act to be shortlisted. How stunning is that?
I was lucky enough to catch up with Diana who was in the midst of raising her energy levels with chocolate cake for breakfast to face the inevitable annual booking of festivals for the summer: “we’re getting UK dates booked up and looking forward to playing Fence shindig the Homegame in April, which always feels like the portal of summer. If you’ve never been-it’s a wonderfully idiosyncratic festival, a meander between lots of village halls to see bands interspersed with sea front chips and home-made soup”.
The Homegame is one festival that I would love to go to as their line-up is always well chosen and different from anything else you’re ever likely to see. I was therefore naturally curious as to how Diana ended up falling in with the Fence:
“I’ve been playing every year since 2005, very random connection, before that I used to play lead guitar in a post punk art rock band in London. I met a bunch of the Fence lot when on tour in Edinburgh and got very interested in what they were doing, so when I struck off on my own I sent them my first recordings, and they were really supportive-put things on compilations, had me up to their fests (they often do something in Oct for halloween too) and put out my first EP. So that’s how that happened! It’s been a joy to get to know them”.
In hindsight maybe I should have come up with something more original but I couldn’t resist the inevitable question “if you had a pot of money and could have anyone you wanted at a festival who would they be?”….
“Ah! the festival question – in no particular order:
Hook & the Twin
Joe Gideon & The Shark
You can purchase Technicolour Wilderness through Fence Records by clicking here.