Candace, New Ruins (Self-Released)
[DREAMGAZE] Since changing their name from Is/Is, Candace has quietly evolved into one of Portland’s finest dream-rock outfits. Their most obvious influence has always been Slowdive, with 2016’s New Future seeing the trio alternate between the shoegaze legends’ split personalities as pedal-stomping rockers and atmospheric expressionists. On New Ruins, Candace paints with tones and textures drawn mostly from the latter, often to stunning results. Reverb drips off each note of the opener “Sunlight” like condensation in an old-growth forest at dawn, but Candace takes extra care to make sure their heavenly vocal harmonies cut through the fog with laserlike precision. While the resurgence of shoegaze has birthed legions of young bands who lean on spatial effects to mask shoddy songwriting, the best tracks from New Ruins would sound just as good in their purest form. Aside from the subtle touches of distortion that punctuate the breezy loner ballad “Wallflower” and the minor chords of “Mendocino,” the album’s nine tracks unfold as an ambling and subdued affair. Candace are undoubtedly capable of the violent dynamics pivotal to the shoegaze genre they flirt with, but New Ruins deserves praise for proving that truly blissful guitar music doesn’t always need deafening volume for its beauty to make an impact.
SEE IT: Candace plays Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., with the Ghost Ease and Lavender Flu, on Friday, March 2. 9 pm. $5. 21+. Get tickets here.