When Candy Opera release 45 Revolutions Per Minute on February 23rd 2018, it will be a belated introduction to a very special band sired during Liverpool's 1980s golden age which has taken almost thirty years to happen. Lovingly unearthed and compiled by Firestation Records of Berlin and available on limited edition CD and deluxe vinyl, the result is a lost gem that points to a million what-might-have-beens. When Candy Opera first appeared on the kaleidoscopic early 1980s Liverpool music scene, by rights they should have changed the world. Here was a classic four-piece, after all, steeped in the symphonic pop of Love's Forever Changes and the Beach Boys' Surf's Up. Taking such influences as a template, alongside contemporaries such as Aztec Camera, The Pale Fountains and Prefab Sprout, Candy Opera were in the throes of crafting a 1980s song-book in their own image, and the band's 1983 Honeysuckle Rose demo has become something of a holy grail. By 1985 the band had played alongside the likes of The Pogues, The Go-Betweens and The Redskins, as well as appearing on Granada TV. Reviews in NME, Sounds and Jamming magazine followed. Forming on the tough Phythian Estate in Liverpool's Kensington district in 1982 and based around the song-writing of Paul Malone, Candy Opera offered up a nouveau classicist sensibility which had seen the band listen without prejudice to The Monkees and Karen Carpenter. With assorted Candy Opera line-ups augmented at various points by baroque flourishes of clarinet, flute or violin, such a sophisticated musical palette went way beyond notions of indie-band purism to create something grander, none of which remotely fitted in with the voguish scene-setters behind shoe-gaze, baggy and brit-pop. After a decade ploughing their own stubborn furrow in various guises, despite interest from EMI and Go! Discs, Candy Opera called it a day in 1993 with only a fistful of demos to their name.
December 7, 2018