The Upshot: Indie rock, dark pop, and hip-hop get mashed up inna Seattle stylee.
BY FRED MILLS
If you peer closely at the Bandcamp tags accompanying this collaboration between Seattle-based indie rockers Visceral Candy (primarily Seth Swift, plus input from Ian Hernandez and Josh Street) and hip-hop MC Tim Stiles (also of Seattle, and frontman for Passion Party), you’ll spot terms such as “dark pop,” “electronic,” “rock & roll,” “a cappella,” “Asian instruments,” and, er, “dogs.” Make what you will of those categories, but they do suggest a musical approach that is anything but staid or traditional.
Visceral Candy feat. Tim Stiles is an ambitious project which does indeed blend disparate styles while remaining a riot of accessibility for modern ears. A perfect example is “Plastic Sleep,” in which Stiles unleashes a rapid-fire barrage of snarky, at times politically-fueled beat manifestoes against a backdrop of jittery, arpeggiated guitar/keyboard riffage and a funk-reggae rhythm; devotees of British post-punkers The Pop Group will find common ground with American hip-hop here. Elsewhere one also hears sonic overtones of Talking Heads, Death Grips, Radiohead, George Clinton, and the Beach Boys—some amazing vocal harmonies pop up here and there—although the musicians cloak their specific influences so adroitly that it would be folly to assert the prominence of one over another. Pay close attention to the snarky “Coffee & Cigarettes” and its sister track “Cigarettes & Coffee” and you’ll see what I mean.
The album, incidentally, is available both digitally and on limited edition colored vinyl (250 copies, with 21 different color combinations inserted randomly in the sleeves).
Meanwhile, Swift is apparently a busy and industrious gentleman, as he has released two Visceral Candy digital EPs since the LP dropped late last year. All The Rest, a six-songer, features Stiles and another one of Swift’s collaborators, Jay Battles, guesting on the track “Nancy Killers”; Battles also appears on “Mud.” And the seven-song. By Qreepz comprises remixes of selected V.C. tracks, including several from the 2016 full-length Both My Dogs Died So I Wrote This Album. One imagines that by the time you finish reading this review, Swift will have another track or two stashed safely away.
DOWNLOAD: “Plastic Sleep,” “Clown Shoes,” “Coffee & Cigarettes”