In celebration of Halloween, I’m putting off my review of Miyavi’s What’s my Name (yet again) to give way for the latest album of the Tim Burton-inspired gothic rock band, The CANDY SPOOKY THEATER. True to form, SPOOKYWONDERLAND is chockfull of tracks that YOU should definitely be playing this Allhallows Eve. Yes, it is eerie but at the same time pays great homage to the spirit of revelry that has come to be associated with this special night. And with titles such as La Dance Macabre, THIS IS HALLOWEEN and TRICK or TREAT, how could you possibly go wrong?
The title track is actually a series of short instrumentals that serves as a sort of “framing device” for the track list. The first of which, SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE-Introduction-, as the name suggests, jumpstarts the album and sets the mood for the loony yet impactful duo of PRINCE OF DARKNESS and The LIVING DEAD. To be honest, it’s a bit hard to distinguish these 2 songs apart so putting them one after the other makes sense as we can perceive them as 1 song with 2 acts.
SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -CABARETTA- then preludes La Dance Macabre. If during one drunken night, goth and ragtime music hooked up and forgot to use protection, the resulting spawn would be La Dance Macabre. The song is ironically, full of life, even vibrant. Clever use of special effects gave the song an uncanny feel that is both unsettling and addicting at the same time.
After the undead had their fun, it’s time for the ghouls to party via the playful THIS IS HALLOWEEN as introduced by SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -SPOOKY HALLOWEEN-. Think of little critters toying with the piano and you’d get the gist of the song. The statement “this is halloween” is repeated many times over and the song does have the goods to back up the claim. It’s weird, it’s spooky and most of all, it’s fun.
SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -Kill You!- samples synth rock and does a good job of setting the tone for Alice. The first to not heavily really on the piano, Alice is also the best track in SPOOKYWONDERLAND. The song is a heady mix of industrial and darkwave influences stamped with the band’s quirky signature. SPOOK HOUSE brings back the groovy piano but save for a more boombastic presence, it’s not very different from PRINCE OF DARKNESS and The LIVING DEAD.
The parade ends with SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -Finale- which actually just features the sound of heavy downpour with its more than fair share of lightning and thunder. But just as you think the party’s over, the piano track that has permeated most of the songs takes the spotlight for more than 3 minutes in TRICK or TREAT -End Credits-.
Consider it a trick or a treat, but The CANDY SPOOKY THEATER refuses to call it a night just yet and squeezes in another song after the so-called end credits. The creatively titled Let’s Meet with Chocolate and Candy transports the listener to some sinister wonderland where the main attraction is Jack Spooky sharing vocal duties with –believe it or not- a Donald and Daffy duck. It is, by all means, a bizarre song. But in the land of the loony and the quirky, bizarre is king.