Audio Mixer: Craig Morris.
When they were fronting the dream-state shoegaze band Candy Claws, Karen and Ryan Hover made shoegaze pop so dreamlike and peaceful that listening to their albums was like being swept away by enveloping waves of sound. Their new band, Sound of Ceres, provides a very similar service. Working with members of Apples in Stereo (Robert Schneider, Ben Phelan, and John Ferguson) and Jacob Graham of the Drums, the couple have revamped the Candy Claws sound in interesting ways and their debut album, Nostalgia for Infinity, is another lovely trip through a contented dreamland. There are far more electronic elements in the Sound of Ceres toolbox; lots of sweeping keys and shimmering synths with fewer guitars and far less noise. Like the Candy Claws albums that preceded it, this is a concept album of sorts. Built around a deconstruction of the classic bossa nova song "The Girl from Ipanema" with elements of Marcel Proust's novel In Search of Lost Time (namely the concept of worlds that exist just beyond our capability to understand them), the music's subdued bossa guitars and space age pop textures fit the concept. There are traces of the Beach Boys in the vocal harmonies, some nice moments of psychedelic wonder, a couple tracks with an almost dancey beat, and plenty of helium-light vocals from Karen Hover, some of the airiest to hit vinyl since the Cranes back in the '90s. Along with the beautiful sound that flows and drifts like a capsule through space, the melodies are soothing and frequently quite catchy. Though listeners are bound to be relaxed to the point of stasis, they will never be bored. If the vocals aren't enough, then there are all the sonic treats buried in the mix, or sometimes right on top, as with the glimmering guitar lines found near the end of album highlight "My Spiral Arm." It's times like this when the Apples in Stereo influence can be heard and the true nature of the collaboration is best felt. It's not exactly a new and improved Candy Claws, especially since they didn't need improvement. More like Candy Claws +, now just a little more structured and with a bit more focus. No matter how one looks at it, and even if Candy Claws were a total unknown before this, Nostalgia for Infinity is dream pop at its finest and Sound of Ceres have made the kind of debut album that should earn love and respect from all corners of the indie rock world: psych-poppers, shoegazers, dreamers, lovers of space jams...basically anyone who loves very pretty music that floats like butterflies and doesn't sting at all. ~ Tim Sendra