Making a triumphant return to the indie-rock scene after a six-year hiatus, Candy Cigarettes has released their anticipated sophomore album, Horse Lungs.
The album’s goal was to simply throw formulas out the window, and push the boundaries of songwriting. Reminiscent of Elliott Smith’s emotional songwriting, Kid A’s atmospheric rock, and glistening 90s shoegaze, Candy Cigarettes creates indie rock that is musically complex without being over-thought.
The band is the project of multi-instrumentalist Lane Mueller. Mueller is self-taught on guitar, bass, piano, synths, and drums, allowing him to explore endless sounds. His music is light and atmospheric, washing over the listener with pensive intrigue. When talking about the undertones of the album, Mueller shared that he drew on themes of isolation and growth. The album has allowed him to create music that is both musically complex and lyrically cutting.
And it was the mellow standout track, “Get Lost,” that caught our attention and led us through the sonic journey that is Horse Lungs. The song highlights Mueller’s emotional songwriting.
Mueller serenades the listener with striking melancholy lyrics like, “I’ll get lost like you / There’s darkness here / But I know we’ll make it through.” He acknowledges the hard times, but expresses hope and optimism. His soft singing and light guitars indeed offer insight to his Elliot Smith influence. It is reminiscent of a Phoebe Bridgers-style song as well. It’s impressive to see Mueller’s attention to detail when the end of “Get Lost” seamlessly flows into the start of the next track, “Confetti.”
Candy Cigarettes’ debut self-titled album was released in 2016, and the artist quickly became a mainstay of Portland’s DIY scene, playing at venues like Show Bar and The Doug Fir, opening for artists such as Crumb, Cannons, and Corridor.
Candy Cigarettes and the tracks on Horse Lungs make great additions to any mellower indie rock or singer-songwriter playlists you’ve got on hand.