Local Cassette Review: Roman Candles from Yorba Linda

Beat Blvd. is Heard Mentality's weekly review of local releases. If you're an OC musician or band with something new to offer--vinyl single, full length album, CD, cassette--we want to hear from you! Send copies, along with any photos and PR material, to Beat Blvd., c/o OC Weekly, 2975 Red Hill Ave., Suite 150, Costa Mesa, CA 92626.
 
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Roman Candles
Read Books/Make Art (a cassette!)
 
Yorba Linda's Roman Candles have been plugging away for a couple of years now, with three self-released cassettes to their name (including one drawn from a variety of scattered sessions). Read Books/Make Art, recorded and released last year, is the kind of happily self-conscious indie-pop rock that could have just as easily been recorded at home in 1985 as it is now, an underground continuum of pop culture references, random winsomeness and a surface nerdishness that disguises a sometimes sadder, more reflective core. 
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So there's a song called "Walkin' Outside" that's a sweet little ramble with harmonica and what sounds like mandolin. There's the distended guitar and echoed vocals on "The Ballad of Ghost" makes for an unsettled, roughly beautiful ballad of a lost soul. On the flipside, how one reacts to "Fuck Yeah Fest!" (about a visit to said event) might depend one's tolerance for the local in-jokes, though the quick blast and ramble of "Punk Belongs to Me" makes up for it. Then there's "Tom Bombadil," about entertaining a dream of living off the land and wanting to be a stowaway.

That's a bit of a theme for the band, given that the next song is simply called "The Stowaways" that looks at the same dream from a slightly older, wiser perspective. All of which is a good thing, because if "Tom Bombadil" had in fact been about the one character from The Lord of the Rings, the only fate for them would be busking at Comic-Con this weekend with the other filksong types.


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