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Glass Candy - B/E/A/T/B/O/X

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Artist: Glass Candy

Album: B/E/A/T/B/O/X

Label: Italians Do It Better

Review date: Jan. 24, 2008

When Ida No implores you to keep dancing in her retrosexual purr, she sounds more convincing than she has any right to be. That’s thanks to Glass Candy cohort (and by all accounts, “the talent”) Johnny Jewel, the en vogue go-to-guy for slo-mo 4/4. He keeps things moving at just the right pace, with just the right touch of aural velour. That beat, the mainstay of the European disco sound throughout the late ’70s, is what makes Glass Candy tick … and stick.

"Rhythm … it can't be forced. It can only be found."

Whereas Jewel's endeavors with his other band, Chromatics, are dark and moody affairs, Glass Candy is blissful disco-pop, suited more for the actual dance floor. If Chromatics are Jewel's nod to Italian prog-rock (particularly, Goblin), then Glass Candy is his ode to Love To Love You Baby-era Donna Summer.

It was quite a year for the duo, after shedding two members and reinventing themselves as pre-post-punk pop artists. Jewel contributed at least eight tracks to the After Dark compilation on Italians Do It Better in one guise or another, and the band made a trend-defining album without even releasing it on standard shelves (a strangely popular phenomenon).

B/E/A/T/B/O/X was originally only available on merch tables before it hit digital download stores. (If Italians is smart, they won’t even worry about a “proper” CD release.) Revamped versions of After Dark’s "Rolling Down Hills" and Kraftwerk cover "Computer Love" sit effortlessly aside newer, synth ‘n’ drum tracks like "Beatific" and "Life After Sundown.” In keeping with Glass Candy’s career path, the reverence shown to their forebears on Dark actually may have held the two back, because B/E/A/T/B/O/X is a pretty massive step forward from a production standpoint. Here, "Rolling Down Hills" gets a boost on the bottom end and a little extra shimmer on the keyboard trills, while "Computer Love" rides out an extended disco-jam over seven minutes.

The wholly instrumental (i.e. no Ida) "Last Nite I Met A Costume” is undoubtedly the most intriguing track on the album, a fitting backdrop for late-night encounters with flamboyant partygoers. The song channels the spacious Moog elements from Italo classic "From Here To Eternity,” and slides right into No's breathy murmurs on "Digital Versicolor."

Say what you will about past incarnations of Glass Candy (it’s probably deserved). This new, sleek, slim-downed version deserves to be judged on its own merits. They really do do it better.

By Dustin Drase

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