One second they’re slinking around in the background like a thief in the night, the next they’re in our face and punishing any melodic element that dare enter their path with a forceful grind as evocative as any of the harmonies surrounding it are. Grooves the size of skyscrapers are everywhere we look, but they’re never so overwhelming in shape that we aren’t able to keep up with the heroic hook tucked in between their mighty march. We’re knee-deep in the trenches with AV Super Sunshine as he paints us into the acidic portrait of “Candyland,” a new single out in both rock and radio edit formats, and there’s no point in trying to fight the steady stream of beats that comprise its framework. This is grown-up rock n’ roll with a bittersweet pop finish, and while it’s not the first big rhythm single that AV Super Sunshine has released in his career (or even the last year), it’s probably one of the only songs that I think fans across the pop spectrum will agree on being an essential spin this October.
The rock mix of “Candyland” is all tonality and virtually zero structure, but it’s experimental more in the iconic Velvet Underground sense than it is the misdirected hipster context of the present. The radio edit is more geared towards its textured instrumentation than it is AV’s vocal, but it doesn’t come up short in colorful harmonies or vivid depictions in verse. Together they make for an odd pair, but separately I think they teach us a little more about who AV Super Sunshine really is beneath the front he puts up via his striking musicality.
We’ve always been privy to the fact that he’s basically two sides of the same coin, constantly trying to reconcile sugar and salt, black and white, mainstream and fearlessly indie, but there’s something much more vulnerable and honest about these two mixes than I have noticed in any of his work released prior to now (the album Candyland included). If he wasn’t in touch with himself before this track, I think it’s okay to assume that he is at the moment; from the first verse forward in this song, regardless of the mix we’re examining, his confidence is so strong that it often affects more than just the mood of the music – it actually shapes the narrative in his words.
AV Super Sunshine is a polarizing character within a lot of underground circles, and there’s no debating that his unique artistic bend is his alone, but there is no disputing how much butt he’s kicking in “Candyland” right now. Even if you don’t know the personal nature of the lyrics in this song, I think that it’s more than obvious to most listeners just how real and authentic AV is being with us here. Indie rock’s favorite experimental guru is owning his sound and his persona as an artist like he never has before in this latest single, and I’m sure that with the right exposure to the masses it’s going to bring him even more of the limelight than he has already been scoring.