The Patron Saint of Heartache – Candy Opera (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

My first thought when hearing opening salvo These Days Are Ours is that this band had possibly broken into my house, looked through the stack of vinyl leaning against the stereo and made an album which perfectly blended everything which I adore musically. Then I read up a bit on the band’s back story, that they played with the god-like The Go-Betweens, that their heyday matches my most active gig going years, that they are on first name terms with members of The Wild Swans and I then wonder how I missed them in the first place.

The Patron Saint of Heartache is the band’s first collection of new material in three decades and if this is  representing of what they were doing back in the day it does make you wonder why they weren’t being mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Aztec Camera, Orange Juice and Prefab Sprout in the 80’s music press. Well, fate is a fickle mistress, some things are worth waiting for, it’s all about getting the timing right…other adages are available on request…and if you will forgive just one more, better late than never!



 A sweeter collection of smart pop you could not wish for, pop with deft lyrics, a wonderful shimmer, chiming resonance, immaculate conception and an even more perfect delivery, and just sheer infectiousness. Start All Over Again is a near-perfect pop song…from back when pop wasn’t such a dirty word…See It Through Your Eyes is lush and loose, sonically rich and lyrically reflective, Enemy touches on the staccato grooves and high sonic drama which Dream Academy were so good at juggling and Tell Me When The Lights Turn Green forms a sonic cocoon around the listener that they could spend the rest of their life in, warm, soft and relaxing.

Candy Opera where a band spawned in a simpler, and possibly more honest, time. But that also meant that getting your music out to the masses was harder work back then and that it was only through the divine providence of a record company that you managed to climb the ladder at all. But that was then and this is now (opps, last one, I promise) and with modern mass marketing now at the touch of a button and accessed from the comfort of your own home, I’m sure that the historical balance will quickly be redressed. It will if I have any say in the matter.

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