Rat Columns come out strong and swooning on their third album with a charming jangler that’s evoking all my ’80s crushes; from Field Mice to Razorcuts and The Sea Urchins. And with that one setting the tone, quickly followed by the equally hazy hummer “She Loves The Rain,” it feels like one could just buckle in for the kind of true to form homage to C86 that often graces the Captured Tracks or Slumberland back catalogs. However, those who know David West, know that he’s made a career of eclecticism and where he’s been finding his footing on the last few albums and EPs, here the band begins to nail down a record collector’s guide to what made the ’80s tick.
They trade jangles for a quickened pulse of post-punk augmented with soaring strings on “Blinded By The Shadow,” giving the album a subtle about face rolling into the its middle. They knock into Saint Etienne territory on the closer and head into sparse soundtrack work on the album’s title track. West has a true penchant for finding the guiding lines between genres and styles. Where others could easily get too ambitious with melding influences that don’t always click, he massages his songs into a persona that walks well in detached cool and romantic thrall. Perhaps the only part that gets away from him a bit is indulging the length of the aforementioned closer, “Dream Tonight.” The dance jolt is a nice note to end on but as a piece of the pie it could stand a bit of slimming. That aside, Candle Power feels like a real highpoint for West, and a perfect obsession for those of us who still need a dose of Thatcher-era pulse in our lives.
Check out the RSTB premiere of “She Loves The Rain” Below:
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