Will Ian Svenonius ever stop? The kicking and screaming former instigator of the fight-this-generation youth revolt of Nation of Ulysses felt immediate and pertinent back on 1991's punk planet. The desperate attitude that the band wore as earnestly as an Oliver North oath and his chic suspicion of adults went over well with a youth culture that needed to justify its love for all things deemed cool. But just when you thought this sharp-dressed man would dissipate into the apathetic ether along with Sassy magazine after 1992--the year punk went broke--he came roaring back three years later as a go-go, yeh-yeh yes-man shaking his money maker in the quasi-socialistic shimmy stirred up by the Make-Up.
Now Svenonius returns with his latest creation, David Candy, and he's once again dressing himself with fashionable radicalism, only this time it's a page from the 1960s book of--Donovan? Play Power doesn't exactly trip the lights fandango with hippie trickery that's as faux sinister as "Season of the Witch" or as much of a guilty pleasure as "Sunshine Superman." Still, Svenonius is definitely not shying away from psychedelic guitar paisleys, long and winding Rhodes lines, unironic Lemon Pipers "bah, bah, bah, bah, bah" vocal harmonies and bongo Beat free verse on Play Power. All crop up on the 18-plus-minute epic "Diary of a Genius"--Ian vain? Who knew?--in which the D.C. hipster tries to go down Kerouac's road with a rhetorical, "What color is the wind?/And where did it begin?" rhymed couplet that's barely wacky. Elsewhere, he strives for the "revolutionary vigor" of Kasimir Malevich, Vladimir Mayakovsky and El Lissitzky on "redfuschiatamborine&gravel," though his knowledge dropped is about as subtle as when Lil' Kim rocks Versace.
But that's not the biggest bummer. The truly heinous thing about David Candy is that Play Power is more fun than the Bush twins after a couple of shots of Cuervo. It's hard to tell which of his four cheeks that Svenonius' got his tongue in as Candy, but by the time you get to his keyboard dirge and vocal moan cover of the "Lullaby from Rosemary's Baby," you've stopped caring if he's just trying to be coy or if he finally took up one of many critics' invitations to go fuck himself.
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