Few indie acts in the American lexicon have the reputation for delivering exceptional hybrid moments that AV Super Sunshine does, and in the new statement single “Candyland,” AV reminds us why this ever-changing vehicle for his solo experiments has the status within the underground that it does. “Candyland,” as it appears to us in its poppier, radio-centric version, is an ethereal melody mantra that exploits the vocal of its creator for every drop of magic that it could possibly be worth. The rock version of the song is a bit more brutish in its finish, but make no mistakes about it – however you indulge in the sonic excesses of this single, it’s a listen that you won’t want to miss out on this fall.
AV’s vocal is the central linchpin in both the rock and radio mixes of “Candyland,” and even though the riffing gets pretty crunchy as he sinks his teeth into the chorus, he never gives up any of the ground he’s got to the underlying percussive pulsations. From start to finish he navigates the deep trenches of bass and drum discord with remarkable ease, and you could even argue that he shows a lot more agility as a player in this song than he did in anything on Candyland, Vol. 1 (an LP that I would rank among the best of 2019). He’s gotten a lot more sophisticated since his debut, and I think that the mainstream media is going to notice that now more than anyone had been expecting them to.
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I only slightly prefer the radio mix of this single to the rock mix, and if I’m being totally honest, I really feel like they’re too different to be broken down under the same critical umbrella. Critics that have accused AV of doing too much in the studio – i.e. his numerous remixes of compositions from one record to the next – really haven’t taken a moment to appreciate the aesthetical depth that he brings with him to every song that he produces. Of all his contemporaries, I can’t think of a single artist or band that is as capable of presenting the audience with a song from virtually every conceivable angle without coming off as inaccessible to anyone but the devout audiophile. That, as I see it, is worth a round of applause on its own.
Though I wasn’t the biggest supporter of AV Super Sunshine in the past, I’m absolutely sold on the sound that I’m hearing in “Candyland.” If there was any lingering hesitance in his execution, it’s undisputedly put to rest here, and I think that deeming this single his most expressive and unapologetically left-field wouldn’t be as much an observation as it would be an endearing complement to his immense skill. AV makes it clear right from the jump in “Candyland” that he has nothing to hide from us both lyrically and instrumentally, and in both mixes of this iconic new song he makes it all the more difficult for us to dismiss his work as being anything other than the top shelf pop/rock that it unquestionably is.