UNDERGROUND RAILROAD TO CANDYLAND - The People Are Home (LP)
The Underground Railroad To Candyland are akin to the Merry Prankster's cross-country voyage of 1966; a ramshackle school bus painted in day-glo rainbow tearing across the desert at 80 miles per hour, speakers blasting perversely twisted free-form tape loops of beatnik rock and roll while all manner of suspicious individuals imbibe massive quantities of speed and LSD on a quest to blur the lines between nihilistic self destruction, art, and society at large.
Jangly guitar leads and buoyant, carefree vocals carry the melodies over a springy, surf-influenced rhythm section, which string together this beastly opus of lo-fi pop-punk gems. Todd Congelliere's (F.Y.P, Toys That Kill, Stoned At Heart) unique songwriting, lyrical sensibilities, and voice shines with the carefree spirit of youth, a vibrant wanderlust that sweeps the old and bitter away in a wash of adolescent enthusiasm and jovial exuberance. Reminding us that while there's always work and life and serious business to attend to, nothing can beat the little moments when we turn our backs and laugh this whole reality thing off as the big joke it really is. While they've spent years garnering a reputation for their rambunctious, crowd-inclusive live shows, bridging the borders between band and rambling road show, The People Are Home captures the jubilance and vibrancy they possess live.
It’s hard to pick individual moments from The People Are Home out as highlights. Of course, the anthemic title track and “Diamond Ring” will be the first things that stick to your brain, but as I’ve listened to the record more and more, the whole thing plays as one piece. It is one corner of the musical world that doesn't sound like anything else being created right now. Even the whacko instrumental “Omstro” (which also sounds like it could have found a home on one of those old Minutemen records) is a highlight because it fits in so perfectly here where it wouldn’t on any other album you'll hear in 2015. The People Are Home is everything in one album. This is party music. This is music for an afternoon walk. This is music to put on in the gym or on your way to work. If someone where to ask me why I listen to music, this would be one of the albums I would play for them. All the better that The Underground Railroad to Candyland don’t seem to give a shit about any of that. They are just trying to ‘make a happy noise here’. That is exactly why The People Are Home is the best album I’ve heard this year. Just go listen to the damn thing. I really mean it this time.