The narrative behind Ceres & Calypso in the Deep Time, the latest LP from Candy Claws, is even longer and more twee than that title (which could be the name of a Michael Cera film). The story of the two title characters (the former a seal-ish creature, the latter a young girl) is, apparently, taken from a document called “BLOOD ARK”, which was excavated alongside a rare zephyrosaurus skeleton. The combination of glistening fairy-tale sweetness and deeply layered dream pop is at once familiar and disorienting, a big, dizzying wash of nostalgia for a children’s book you’ve never read.
That said, the concept isn’t essential to enjoying Ceres & Calypso; in fact, much of the time the lyrics are so shrouded by reverb and cloudy instrumentation that the story becomes secondary. The wavering organ, string slashes, and chunky guitar of “Fell In Love (At The Water)” evoke a watery pastoral without being able to pick out that Ryan Hover is singing about “ferns, gingkoes, cycads” and “horsetail reed beds.” The infinite wonderland buzzing of “Transitional Bird (Clever Girl)” doesn’t need to spell out that it’s about floating through endless “layers of green.”
Ceres & Calypso would seem perfectly suited for a brain-melting, painstakingly detailed animated film, both in story and in its evocative soundtracking potential. “Pangaea Girls (Magic Feeling)” features Koopa shell pops and shambling percussion, while “Birth of the Flower (Seagreen)” turns its guitars into steel drum plinks as saccharine female vocals float by. At times, the music seems to pull apart its own seams, dense Black Moth Super Rainbow hippie fuzz and intricate Sung Tongs precision battling for dominance. As “Fallen Tree Bridge (Brave Rainbow Rider)” puts it, “tree sound in wind/ or is it the sound of water?” Though often too big to fully comprehend, Ceres & Calypso is the kind of album you wish you could get lost in, perhaps by opening up a wardrobe and climbing right in.
Essential Tracks: “Fell In Love (At The Water)”, “Transitional Bird (Clever Girl)”