Candidate are one of those accessible cult bands who belong to the people who know. They have been compared happily by critics to The Beta Band, The Go Betweens, Julian Cope, and the sacred trio of initialised groups: CSNY, XTC and REM.
Candidate formed just before the turn of the millennium, Their demo tape, when there were demo tapes, sat at the top of industry in-trays, when there were industry in-trays (alongside one by a band called Coldplay). There was a hell of a lot of fuss, which was exciting. Uncomfortable with the idea of joining the burgeoning stadium indie scene, and never comfortable with life on the circuit, because bass amps are heavy and there are sometimes stairs, the band retreated to their home studio, to play with interesting noises, building folky loops, fat acoustic drones, and walls of guitars and harmonies, turning down support slots and festival appearances alongside some very big names, which may have been stupid, but they stand by their decision. Bass amps are heavy.
Instead Candidate co-founded their own independent label, alongside some other musicians they liked (The Broken Family Band, Chris T-T, Delila) and ploughed their own idiosyncratic furrow, going wherever they fancied – finding inspiration by blending traditional folk, Troubador singer-songwriter styles, alt-rock, atmospheric sound collages, and wheezy lo-fi – and becoming one of British music’s best kept secrets. They became adored by those in the know, but free to find their own way, doing stubbornly strange projects – albums inspired by cult films and demolished architecture, collages of field recordings from fields and pubs – making their own artwork, producing, engineering and mixing themselves, not doing the boring stuff. Because, as we said, bass amps are heavy.
Candidate provided the theme music for the long-running Jonny Vegas sitcom ‘Ideal’ (beating Slade to the slot) and gained widespread acclaim for their 2003 LP Nuada, an idiosyncratic alternate-universe soundtrack for seminal folk-horror film The Wicker Man, for which the band decamped to the original locations and even stayed in the same hotel as Edward Woodward’s character, for the same number of nights, because how else would you do that? The record even featured folk legend Bert Jansch of Pentangle on guitar, who liked the project enough to join in (and didn’t mind dueling with the 1980s Miami Vice synthesizer the band insisted also needed to be on there.)
Point Clear is about getting together again and remembering how much fun people are.