With So Much Going On, You Definitely Won’t Be Sleeping.
There’s something interesting about the concept of fusion. Scientific fusion, and more popularly, culinary fusion come quickest to mind, but it’s fusion of music genres that’s the primary focus of Brooklyn’s Candiria. Since the early ’90s, Candiria have used their instruments as welding tools, melding together hardcore, jazz, hip hop and metal to create what they themselves have dubbed “urban fusion.” The resulting effect is an acquired taste firmly placing listeners on either the “love” or “hate” side of Candiria albums. While They Were Sleeping is their first record in over a decade, and while it varies slightly from albums past, will still act as a polar divider of tastes.
Before tackling traversing through the album’s 12-song-long din, it might be helpful for listeners to have a feel for While They Were Sleeping’s conceptual theme. Candiria’s dynamic lead vocalist Carley Coma describes the record as the story of a failed musician named Mereya that stringently rebels against the monarchy of New York City, which either helps the album make total sense or will drive a further divide in its reception.
While They Were Sleeping’s title track is a lackluster opener but “Mereya” acts quickly to revive lost energy with not one, but two horned bridge sections with a Scatman-type of harmony that add a melodic jazz pick-me-up. Candiria reach at other expressive attempts by employing some flute lines in “The Cause” and “Wandering Light,” which, at little over a minute in hints at a surprising inkling of pop with a guitar line almost identical to that of Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue.”
These first songs present the strongest of the album’s offerings, but if Candiria’s specific recipe of fusion metal tickles any personal fancies, this won’t be an issue. Due to the record’s heightened allure, provided by the vocal support of Vaureen’s Andrea Horne. Once the somewhat oddly placed ballad “Opaque” comes around, Horne’s contributing backups prove themselves necessary to take the album to the next level.
“Servitude” ends the album with a chugging, heavy riff and Coma’s revengeful lyrical story telling. It’d be hard to describe any of While They Were Sleeping’s songs as brutal, but “Servitude” is perhaps the only qualifier, ending this progressive and inventive album on a high note.