The Grand Design – Crime Spree in Candyland (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

What if everything in music has already been done? Perhaps every sonic peak has been conquered, every sound found, every style invented. Perhaps it has been that way for a long time? Perhaps it doesn’t really matter. The awesomely named Crime Spree in Candyland is smart enough to understand that the route to the sound of the moment is in fact a circuitous one, that you have to take a few forgotten byways, travel a number of generic backroads en route to the zeitgeist highway of the here and now.

However they forge their sound it seems to be a perfect blend of tipping of the hat to past glories and forward-thinking exploration. The Grand Design is a tasteful collection of music, one blending modern indie sounds with choice post-punk, alt-pop poise, dream-like ambient drifts anchored by confident guitar riffs, unfussy but effective backbeats and rhythms, and accessible and infectious lyrics.

Endangered is a tight-wound opening salvo which builds its dynamic through sultry lulls and hazy harmonics, urgent energies and clever sonic interludes and Delicate Outlines is a similar collection of contrasting moods, melancholic and brooding, yet busy and bombastic. Fatalism is chiming and charming in equal measure and Midnight Always Comes is elegant and spacious, understated yet shot through with perfectly placed power chords, building almost imperceptibly in slow-burning weight and hazy sonic mists as it travels towards its destination.

What a great ep, one that proves that the best music is cyclical and organically created, often absorbed as much by osmosis as it is by choice. However Crime Spree in Candyland got here, The Grand Design is as elegant a collection of indie sounds, past and present, as you will have heard this year. The perfect record to round the year off as well as a great way to pique my interest in what, musically speaking, 2021 may bring.

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