Chicklet is a band I’ve been following for a long time. This Canadian pop duo make simply beautiful, transcendent dream pop records that you can’t get out of your head or remove from your CD player for weeks on end. Then they seemingly disappear off the face of the planet, only to re-emerge again with another ethereal, mind-bending masterpiece. Chicklet’s latest must-have CD, its fourth release and second full-length album, is called Indian Summer and it’s just amazing.
Chicklet is one guy, Daniel Barida (Guitar, vocals, drums, keys) and one girl, Julie Park (Vocals, guitar, piano, keys) with a studio bassist and cellist featured on two tracks. You’re probably thinking how you’ve seen the mixed gender “power duo” played out to death in the White Stripes and The Ravonettes and yadda yadda yadda. Chicklet have been doing it longer and — to my ears — a bit… dare I say it… differently.
Everybody compares Chicklet to Lush, but to me they sound like they schooled themselves on a cool uncle’s ’60s record collection, then filtered all of that through a deep love of early ’80s post punk, ’90s Brit pop and the Manchester Acid House scene. Despite the fact that I could easily think of at least one other song that most of the eleven songs on Indian Summer remind me of, the album sounds like a Chicklet album. Reason being, this type of genius-level subliminal crystallization of influences is what Chicklet do so well: they blend a careful selection of studied styles into their own unique, deftly unsettling genre flair. Chicklet just rule.
Some of the very subtle influences I picked up on Indian Summer include The Castaways • they had that ’60s hit, “Liar Liar” • meet Duran Duran (“Subcelebrity”), The Teardrop Explodes (“Apple Song”), The Charlatans (“Camouflage”) Echo & The Bunnymen meet the Buzzcocks (“Threshold”), Tears for Fears (“Collide”) and — gasp — Enya (“Sight & Sound”). As you can imagine, every song is great.
Park flexes her muscles as a formidable songwriter on the lyrically heavy “Mockingbird,” “Subcelebrity,” and a nod to the duo’s Christian faith, found in the lyrics to “Apple Song.” Musically, it’s all a haunting and lush mix of analog keyboards and guitars, rumbling bass, and insistent, finely nuanced drumming. Julie Parks’ breezy but sophisticated vocals are irresistible and when Daniel Barda takes the lead vocal (“Threshold”) his compelling voice mixes Mitch Easter’s indie-rock cred with a less gay-sounding version of Michael Quercio (Three O’Clock)’s pop falsetto
I can’t stop listening to this CD.