Kandy Face – Stupid Famous

7.8/10

Hamilton’s got talent: local band Kandy Face have released a self-produced record, Stupid Famous, that will surely please fans of 90s grunge.

The first track is “Derty,” a psychedelic tune that gently rocks you through jammy, acoustic, and ambient sections. Frontman John Pegg sounds like a mix of Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell, while the band sounds fantastic thanks to excellent production handled by Jordan Viaene, the band’s bassist. Self-producing a record is a ton of work and these guys pulled through, creating a record that sounds great from start to finish. “Rag Girl” follows with a funky vibe that brought me back to early Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam. It’s a song that’s chock full of tasty riffs from guitarists Pegg and Evan Sagar. “Butterscotch” is next, and brings vibes of Deconstruction, thanks to interesting arrangements and all those clean guitar tones. “Bog” begins with some sweet riffing on the guitars, which power up for the choruses. This song reminds me of the Foo Fighters – it’s a catchy and energetic track that continually ramps up until its end. A ballad-like intro launches “Oh God Please,” and it’s here I must mention that I wish the vocals were a little louder in the mix. The song also showcases some growling vocals, which added diversity and energy to this track’s punchy ending.

Fans of slap bass should take a listen to “Stickme,” a funky track that sees frontman Pegg half-singing, half-rapping through the song’s choruses and verses. Also worth noting are the crisp, punchy, huge sounding drums which embellish the album from beginning to end. Kandy Face recorded the drums for Stupid Famous in a barn; how DIY is that! The playing is also on point, courtesy of Jesse Rose. During “Seven,” a breakdown leads to a sweet, albeit brief, guitar solo.

This band knows how to arrange their parts: the opening riffs on “Milk Belly” perfectly exemplify what I mean. However, there is something I feel the need to mention: around this time in the track list, I started to guess where the song was going to go. Unfortunately, the song’s structure followed what I heard before on this album’s previous tracks. Of course, this is a matter of personal preference, I just wish this album could surprise me a little more. “No Room Left” is next, and started with powerful strumming on the guitar. We hear the return of the growling vocals for the bridge, adding more power to this great rock song, which is followed by a sweet guitar solo before abruptly ending with the first line of a verse. “Free” opens with a string section adding lushness to an acoustic/electric guitar intro. The chord changes during the verses were interesting and unexpected and the harmonized vocals were also a nice touch.

“Grey” is a sweet song that has feel-good vibes aplenty, along with a catchy guitar solo counted in by (I suspect) bassist Viaene, who is credited with background and growling vocals on the album. It was nice to hear the bass begin “I God Syndrome,” as the majority of the tracks start with guitar riffs. The song’s bridge is packed with energy, and took a turn towards metal territory with its growling vocals and overall evil sound. The intro of the next track “Sad Girl” summons Pink Floyd thanks to psychedelic phasers swirling through echoed guitar riffs and gradual fade out. “Aller Control” is the last track on Stupid Famous, and it’s a trip.

Overall, this album is solid. It sounds great, it’s very well arranged, and the songs are jams that I’d love to see live. Kandy Face may be a relatively new band, but you can tell these guys know what they’re doing, and they do it well.

Written by Dave Tone
*edited by Kate Erickson

About Dave Tone 53 Articles
Lucky enough to be born into a musical family, Dave took piano lessons until he turned eleven and picked up a guitar. Having played in a bunch of musical projects in and around Gatineau, he moved to Montreal to pursue a life in music. He enjoys busking in the Montreal subway, singing songs by Sam Roberts, QotSA, Beck, Mutemath, Kasabian, Big Sugar and les Colocs, among others. His band, Diamond Tree, has released an EP, and plays in and around Montreal. Dave has traveled to British Columbia, France, the United States, Cuba, Kenya, Mozambique, and South Africa. His favorite sport is Air Hockey and yes, he'll have another beer, thank you.

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