Beat Happening - Black Candy (1989)

As evidenced by its title, Black Candy is Beat Happening's darkest, most deliriously ominous album; clearly influenced by the Cramps, the record is dominated by Calvin Johnson's coffin-creak vocals, with Heather Lewis' breathy sweetness rarely in earshot to lighten the mood. A less developed batch of compositions than the previous Jamboree, it strives to evoke the mood of a grade-Z teen horror flick soundtrack, with faux-creepy songs ("Pajama Party in a Haunted Hive," "Gravedigger Blues," "Bonfire") and primal, drum-dominated production; less eclectic and nuanced than the trio's other LPs, Black Candy quickly grows tiresome, although the oft-covered highlight "Cast a Shadow" is a treat.

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