Album Review: Reina Del Cid – Candy Apple Red

I only write reviews for Thank Folk For That for artists that I respect and want to secure wider listening. This review is for Reina Del Cid’s new offering Candy Apple Red. I stumbled across her ‘coffee cheers’ video sessions that are released weekly on a Sunday where she provides a cover of a famous song with help from her friend and lead guitarist Toni Lindgren. The singing is always honest and authentic while the guitar playing is sublime and supportive. This combination that works so well on a weekly basis comes to the fore on the latest album benefiting from better production, more intricate harmonies and a greater level of musicianship.

In some respects, the album is not a significant departure from the previous Morse Code. Del Cid’s lyrics appear straightforward and clear until you begin to analyse their meaning a little more closely. The themes are often dark and troubling such as ‘1970’ which considers the pain and angst of declining health through the pain of dementia and ‘Shot ‘em Dead’ which has a fun, upbeat feel for a song that captures numerous assassinations which eventually sees the singer shot dead.

Del Cid’s love of literature contributes well to lyrics that capture nicely a mood that is wistful and longing. This comes through well on ‘Seasons’: ‘when the night is darkest I’ll be the fire flies and when August passes you by, you’ll be the change in colours in my September skies’. The band never take centre stage and support in a laconic manner supporting the well-crafted songs and the sensitive delivery. The only time there is a sense that there is much more that can be offered is when there is a release in tension and mood on the final track, ‘Brandy and Wine’. This song reveals the exceptional guitar playing of Lindgren and the tightness of drums and keyboards.

If you are new to Del Cid I would suggest you listen to the title track which moves to a more intense and unusual rhythm later on but wraps itself around an understated drum beat with the stunning lead guitar and keyboard work. The whimsical ‘Alice’ written following a trip to Northern Ireland has an Irish jig feel but is much more complex in structure than at first seems.

I’m never critical of Del Cid’s work and I know that probably makes me a poor critic of this album. I don’t care cos I just love it. I hope a few of you might take a listen and join me in my deep admiration of her work.

Frank Norris