North London quartet Candidate have plowed their distinctive furrow for a few years now, announcing themselves splendidly with a slew of EPs (Leader, Take Over Tokyo) which their debut LP, sadly, struggled to match (though it wasn't without some excellent moments - Somerset, for one). It's great to be able to report, then, that second album 'Tiger Flies' is a more cohesive, consistent and altogether better record.
Commencing with the gorgeous harmonies of the all-too-brief 'Avalanche', the LP quickly settles itself somewhere between The Beta Band and Sparklehorse, with Lambchop and Giant Sand thrown somewhere into the mix. Lest you think it's wholly derivative of its altcountry antecedents, it's also necessary to point out the overall distinctiveness of the sound, characterised mainly by singer Joel Morris' deep, faintly Americanised voice and pithy lyrics ("Damned incompetents/What Do they know?" Begins one song).
Some fifteen minutes longer than their debut, the album isn't without its filler and occasionally comes across as slightly inconsequential. However, in 'Hawaiian Police', 'Honey' and 'This is the Way', Candidate demonstrate an easy way with melody that distinguishes them from their peers (if they have any: they're distanced from the new acoustic orthodoxy and don't really fit in anywhere else, which can only be a good thing). Flawed it may be, but 'Tiger Flies' is an engaging grower that should bring the group to wider attention.