David Candy: Playpower

David Candy

Utilizing the same retro-futuristic attitude as groups like Pizzicato Five and Air, the musician known as David Candy (a persona of Washington D.C. musician Ian Svenonius) has crafted a selection of quietly bizarre songs. Combining spoken word with ’60s-inspired instrumentals, Playpower is without a doubt fun and interesting, but is almost not bold enough to be anything more than strange background music.

The sense of humor exhibited on Playpower is the album’s greatest asset. On the two major spoken word pieces, “Incomprehensibly Yours” and Redfuchsiatamborine&gravel” the self-consciousness of this music is apparent. David Candy character claims “I will look after you. I understand you. I already know you.” on the former, and then rambles about art, food, and his favorite place in the world on the latter. While the peculiarity of these two tracks, like all of Playpower, is enchanting, that’s mostly all it has going for it. There’s no effort to make an emotional connection to the listener.

Covering “Listen to the Music” and “Bad Bad Boy”, as well an interpretation of the “Lullaby from Rosemary’s Baby“, Playpower maintains its retro influences, while still using modern sensibilities. As much fun as these pieces are, the moody and atmospheric “Diary of a Genius” is much more interesting. Except for this one track, the rest of Playpower has a sense of being a bit gimmicky, as if Svenonius created the David Candy persona but didn’t know really what to do with it after that. There’s something that’s not quite genuine about what is being expressed here.

While the experimental tendencies of Playpower can be admired, it’s not fully realized, and feels incomplete in the end. David Candy seems to be an intriguing creation, both in terms of his character and his music, but listeners are left not knowing much about either. It’s not quite a missed opportunity, because what is on Playpower is appealing, but there’s a sense this could’ve been so much more than it turned out to be.