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David Candy

The question on everyone's lips these days is this: who is David Candy? Pop philosopher, sartorial dandy, sensitive lover, self-conscious poet, retro musician, and mad genius -- yes, David Candy is all of these things. David Candy is also a fiction sprung from the damaged mind of one Ian Svenonius, who you may remember as the leader of the ironically polemical mod-gospel ensemble the Make Up, and before that the leader of the ironically polemical anarcho-punk ensemble Nation of Ulysses. As David Candy, Mr. Svenonius continues his ongoing love affair with the swinging sounds of the '60s. But here he cops a different style, appropriating the groovy, wonky film score music of the period, sounds you might associate with Bond or Barbarella, to serve his own warped, brilliant ends.

As a matter of fact, David Candy's first album, Play Power, features three covers from more or less arcane '60s and early '70s movie soundtracks: the featured "Listen to the Music" comes from the 1968 teensploitation comedy-satire Wild in the Streets, about a rock singer who seeks to mobilize the rebellious youth of America (and the thin production and trebly guitars of Candy's version make it sound authentically 1968); "Bad Bad Boy" (on which Candy sounds not unlike a young Bowie) comes from the 1967 British cult film Privilege about another rock star living in a futuristic police state; finally, "Komeda's Lullaby" is plucked from Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby. The original tracks consist of lots of absurd keyboard noodling, goofy Latin percussion, spy movie orchestration, and Candy's uncomfortably intimate spoken word utterances. The songs are executed to perfection by Candy and co-conspirators Jeremy Butler and John Austin the same gentleman who helped create the likeminded aesthetic of Death By Chocolate.

The lyrical content of Candy's monologues is comically self-conscious: he waxes pretentious about his artistic leanings (Russian suprematism) and his favorite place to visit (San Paulo, because of its "rampant public licentiousness" and exotic juice bars), he offers a stream-of-consciousness rant in the form of a diary entry about our penchant for routine and our place in the universe, and he breathily whispers unpleasantly close to your ear, "I know that you've been searching. Now that you found me, you don't have to search anymore. I'm the one that you've always been waiting for. And now I'm here. With you. Forever."

Look, you can love Ian Svenonius or hate him (and it's quite alright if you feel both), but you've got to admire his unflagging commitment to his own idiosyncratic, intentionally embarrassing and pretentious, nebulously ironic retro-pop vision. While the absurd esotericism of David Candy's music is sure to limit his audience, Play Power is essential listening for true believers.