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Reviewed by - Matt Rowe

Candyland Riots!
Orange Sash and the
President of the Galaxy

Jordan Lee is a self-professed movie fan of early era Hollywood ‘black and white’ productions.  He is also the mainstay behind LA’s eccentrically titled Candyland Riots!  It is that treasure box of theatrical influence that he pulls from as he created the 13 tracks that are found on his recent release, the even more eccentrically titled Orange Sash and the President of the Galaxy.

Employing a collection of themes, some philosophical and others dramatic, Lee and his Candyland Riots! center in on fiction as the basis of most of his songs; the album title itself is a reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  Candyland Riots! do not allow normal conventions to permeate their space.  Instead, they break bread with genre defying independent bands that march to the beat of their own music found in their own heads.  That can be liberating for artists who have a sound that cannot be compared.  But, whether such music works depends greatly upon the acceptance of the listener.  Bands like The Flaming Lips and Guided by Voices have found a receptive audience, all the while maintaining their unique eccentricities.  And so, strange can be good.

The music is personal.  One spin into “You’re Contemporary Art,” and you can be drawn into the melodies easily enough even if lyrically, you find yourself involved in an unexplainable fiction of sorts.  There are lots of interesting sound layers in all of the songs (“Lee Jets” uses spacey movie UFO sound effects to lace the song with), which can be lush or spare depending on the mood of the song.  “Thora,” on the other hand is an entrancingly simple power ballad.   

Remaining outside the sphere of the mainstream is certainly a hallmark of Candyland Riots!.  One visit to their website will challenge you with a splash of clashing font and background colours as will the lyrics printed on their CD booklet.  You’ll also be interested in the names of their songs.  But certainly, fans of such independent challengers like The Flaming Lips will enjoy hearing Candyland Riots! develop.  

Release Date: November 14, 2006
Produced by: Mikael Karlsson & Jordan Lee
Format: CD

Track Listing:

Mr President, Welcome to Troy, Ohio / You're Contemporary Art... / At Least It's Not a Holocaust / Drifting...Like a Real Canyon / A Paradise for Firearms / Lee Jets / Thora (or Hope for the Empire) / Our Molecules Have Finally Come Together / Bless Your Heart, You Are Light. / Anthem for the Deperate & Lonely / The Cinematic Fling / Sleep, No More / The Royal ("We" Are Ineffective).

Candyland Riots!:

Jordan Lee - Guitar / Vocals
Mikael Karlsson - Guitar
Hale Savard - Drums
Stefan Helleblad - Bass

With -

Neal Jones - Drums
Byron Hagen - Orchestra
John Mattson - Bass (11), Lap steel (10)
Mitch Bottler - Piano (Sleep, No More).

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