A slew of bands that have been lumped also under the banner of Alternative/Indie Rock in the 1990s, whose music may be described as a melodic kind of Punk or which resided within the sonic spectrum of Post-Punk New Wave, unluckily fell off the radar after only an album or a few. After years of trying to stay afloat and relevant alongside their luckier contemporaries, these then-promising bands that almost made it, so to speak, included Senseless Things (“Lip Radio”), Fossil (“Moon”), and The Candyskins (“Dig It”). Despite being unable to achieve global success and realize their full potentials, they still deserve remembrance along with reassessment of their respective musical outputs. After all, the time is never too late to rediscover the music of these half-remembered bands.
Formed in 1989, in Oxfordshire, England, by Nick Cope (vocals), his brother Mark (guitar), Nick Burton (guitar), Karl Shale (bass), and John Halliday (drums), The Candyskins were able somehow to break through via their single “Feed It,” which was included in the soundtrack of the 1998 film The Waterboy. However, it was too late by then. Their frustrations and financial dispute with their record label caused them to give up and break up. Soon after releasing their fourth and final effort, 1998’s Death of a Minor TV Celebrity, they also pronounced themselves dead.
So, in time for the 25th anniversary of Fun?, The Candyskins’ sophomore release, give the band some syrupy sweet lovin’ by revisiting it one more time.
Released on February 16, 1993, on Geffen Records, Fun? opened with its carrier single – the poppy, punky mid-tempo “Wembley,” which might have reminded the initiated of Descendents (“Clean Sheets”) especially when the wacky Punk band was at its most juvenile, yet romantic predisposition. The mood slowed down for a bit with the choppy, slightly metallic, subtly Shoegaze-y “Fun” and then with the waltzy as well as lyrically poetic “House at the Top of the Hill.”
The Candyskins then stepped onto the pedal as they launched into the upbeat “Tired of Being Happy,” only to turn sentimental again with the melodic “Land of Love.” The ensuing semi-acoustic ballads “Everybody Loves You” and “Everything Just Falls Apart on Me” may be regarded as album highlights… a tad Glam, a bit bluesy.
Then there was the psychedelic-tinged “You Are Here,” exuding faint spirits of Oasis (“Champagne Supernova”) and which served as the sonic springboard of Mark’s subsequent band, Nine Stone Cowboy (“Jesus H Christ”).
Another 3/4-timed Indie Rock lullaby, “Grass” then swayed softly like green garden grasses and Mark and Burton’s interplay of guitar riffs buzzed gently midair like a couple of dragonflies; this was Nick with his most emotive voice and poetic pen, as he crooned: “The bigger the garden, the greener the grass.”
One of The Candyskins’ most memorable songs played next – “Dig It Deep,” which combined the fuzz of Grunge and the gloss of Britpop, rendering compelling results and foreshadowing the sound of the followup, 1997’s Sunday Morning Fever. Next was “Let’s Take Over the World” – another trek to Oasis territories, both lyrically and sonically.
Finally, The Candyskins wrapped up their Fun? with the rather dark lament of “All Over Now,” which would have been an apt theme song for The Wonder Years if only this beloved 1988–1993 TV series was set in the ’90s instead of the ’60s, and with a much cooler and looser Kevin Arnold and a less than prim-and-proper Winnie Cooper.
To mope about the past, with its what-ifs and could-have-beens, is pointless. You will only hurt yourself without gaining anything in return. All you can really do is to reminisce and celebrate the moments with a sense of affection and positive retrospect. One delightful way to do this is by giving a half-forgotten spark such as The Candyskins’ Fun? another detailed run, especially that it had just reached its twenty-fifth mark.