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Album Review

Candy Flip's Madstock is a wonderfully charming guilty pleasure and an absolute joy from start to finish. Most of the tracks are built around keyboards/synthesizers and dreamy vocals. "Strawberry Fields Forever" is an extremely successful cover of the Beatles' song. Released as a single, the track met modest success both in the U.K. and the U.S. Candy Flip's version of the song blends swooning lyrics with pretty keyboards, a cool, rolling beat, and Asian instrumental effects. The liner notes suggest that the band had much fun recording and test-performing the song in and around Manchester, England. And Manchester is surely the first place that comes to mind upon hearing the album. The title of the album itself is a play on the Madchester label of Manchester from the late '80s and early '90s. The allusion to Woodstock seems less apt; it's a bit hard to associate electronic-based music with Woodstock. Still, the track titles, subject matter, and execution are infinitely cute and suggestive of a peaceful utopia. "Wonderland," "Madstock," "Redhills Road," and even "Strawberry Fields Forever" see the band singing and proclaiming the joys of perfect, happy places that simply can't exist. The music follows right along. Bouncing, pleasant beats and gentle melodies swirl through every song. There are frequent neo-psychedelic instrumental flourishes on par with the Beatles cover. "This Can Be Real" is a twee, electronic treat which sees the band singing, "beautify my mind, a feeling you will find, it can be, this can be real." Candy Flip seems 100 percent intent on creating enjoyable beats and moods on Madstock. There's enough variation to be found amid the ten tracks and two bonus tracks that repeat listens always bring new discoveries and charms. "Redhills Road" gets mildly aggressive, but only to better facilitate dancing. "Theme" introduces jazz elements and actually ends up sounding a bit like a collaboration between Roxy Music and Electronic. "Space" and its remix are memorably fun, dub-heavy songs with nice hints of reggae. There's no doubting that Madstock is a piece of nostalgia from the great Madchester days of yore. It's the sound of Candy Flip laying down track after track of beat-perfect synth-pop joys, without the slightest hint of pessimism.


Formed: 1990

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

The British band Candy Flip was caught in the party-all-night atmosphere of late-'80s/early-'90s Manchester, England. Named after the slang term for mixing ecstasy with acid, Candy Flip was formed by Danny Spencer (vocals, keyboards) and Ric Peet (keyboards) in 1990. Not as critically acclaimed as their peers -- and obvious influences -- Happy Mondays and the Stone Roses, Candy Flip nevertheless attracted U.K. press and radio attention with an electronic update of the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields...
Full bio
Madstock..., Candyflip
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