Jed and Lucia - Candles in Daylight

Candles in Daylight causes daydreams. Sometimes they’re different, but mostly it’s one reoccurring scenario:

Jed and Lucia are standing on their balcony looking out at hills on fire. Actually, the whole world is burning. Astonishingly, they don’t seem to mind, and they put on old hip-hop vinyl that mysteriously plays at about 1/4 speed, and at times sounds devilish and broken.

As the flames surround the house and lightly warm their faces, they decide to make something. With the vinyl already playing, the choice to create music is an easy one. They take words from their thoughts in semi-random order and sling them over beats similar to painters slinging paint at a canvas. The meanings are abstract; you feel the meaning more than you actually understand it.

They don’t burn, but the fire doesn’t stop. It’s a daydream, so laws of nature flux and shift; the flames become a harmless picture housed in a distant frame. All that’s left then are these mixed, complex ideas splattered on your mind’s empty canvas, positioned over perfectly tuned drum and bass, and accompanied by finger-picked classical guitars.

Jed and Lucia self-released their stunning debut in February 2006. Recorded and produced by the two in their home-studio in Chatsworth Lake, CA - a quaint civil war stagecoach stop hidden in the Northwestern mountains just outside Los Angeles - the record’s birthplace is fitting. Candles in Daylight sounds like it’s from - if not another world - some small mountain town that you’ve never heard of. It’s full of beautiful hip-hop and jazz beats, classical guitar, upright bass, strange psychedelic-atmospheric soundscapes, and low, hushed vocals delivering potent abstract imagery on topics like:

* Watching the world end in flames with a loved one

* The value of slowing a busy life down and keeping a positive outlook

* Lovers confessing secrets and sleeping alone

* Comparing emotional mood swings to a boat on water

* Hearing rejecting voices from Heaven

* A young girl’s unexpected pregnancy

* Painful break-ups

The themes are emotionally intense, but there is an air of hope and progress that carries you from beginning to end. Much of this veiled optimism (or veiled tragedy?) is the result of their tone and delivery of the lyrics. On the apocalyptic opening track, “World on Fire,” the line, “held each other laughing, watching dark turn to light,” might resonate with you such that you might not notice the dark lyrics that preceded it: “woke to see the earth in flames.”

Lyrical mysteries and pleasures aside, Jed and Lucia’s collective voice is so seamless that it’s hard to imagine one without the other; they swap the lead vocal role back and forth in a egalitarian manner, and the effect is purely enjoyable. Their sound is classic and timeless, comparable to Nick Drake, Kings of Convenience, and even Simon and Garfunkel.

This review wouldn’t be complete without much gushing over the gorgeously produced drum beats. Often resembling slowed-down James Brown rhythms from the 60’s and brushed Miles Davis snares and high hats, their break-beat kick drums are so huge that they’d make John Bonham blush. The holes in these grooves are so big that you could walk through them, bringing me to my next observation: there is definitely underlying intent in the rests of the drumbeats and bass lines on Candles. Each hit of the snare or pluck of the upright bass is so sincere, so emotionally potent, that once played, a moment of pause is necessary to soak in the meaning.

In closing, take a look off of a balcony sometime soon; look at the hills and think of Jed and Lucia’s Candles In Daylight. Be glad that the record’s apocalyptic themes are fiction, and that we have this gem to listen to over and over, searching for hidden meanings in it’s cryptic, inspired wonder.

-- Part Swedish Chris

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