At first glance, the debut EP Ice Cream Anti Social by Best Ex (formerly known as Candy Hearts) may lead to some sugar-sweet expectations with it’s fun, unconventional pastel-colored cake exterior. But underneath the sweet-enough-to-hurt-your-teeth-frosting lies some seriously dark stuff. The album was released via Alcopop! Records this week and features six songs, all with hints of the best from all the indie/pop artists we know and love: Carly Rae Jepsen, Rilo Kiley, Taylor Swift and even a little old-school Avril Lavigne.
Singer/songwriter Mariel Loveland felt compelled to rebrand and redirect her creativity, calling the change a “break-up makeover” (from her, “good-for-nothing anxiety” which we all wish we could bravely break free from, right?). For the last several years, she has been applauded for her sweet “rambunctious pop” as Candy Hearts, she continues to write honest, expressive songs that range from silly or serious topics while remaining very tongue-in-cheek through and through.
The EP begins with a track entitled “Girlfriend” which is where we get those Rilo Kiley vibes we talked about, specifically “Portion For Foxes” — Loveland singing the lines, “Baby I’m bad news / Don’t let that stop you.” This track is an unapologetic, upgraded version of Avril Lavigne’s hit “Girlfriend” for the newer generation, letting girls (and boys) know that if their heart is set on someone… do what you gotta do to get your teeth sunk in.
This six-track release is the first listen of the unveiled Best Ex sound, merging from the previous moniker to this new electro/indie pop sheen. There is something that draws us to pull the similarities to the folk/comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates as Loveland sings, “My cat is my best friend, but she doesn’t give a damn about me” in “Lonely Life,” an anthem so relatable to young adults these days you almost have to roll your eyes. Though we don’t mind the silly, carefree nature of the track, the songs still enjoyable and enough fun to dance and sing along to, forgetting your worries and your cat’s disdain for you, albeit momentarily.
The summery, breezy overtones are contrasted on the track “February 4th” which strips away the synths and has a more simplistic nature. The sprinkles are all gone, for a much-needed moment of truth, leading up to one of the highlights on the release, “See You Again,” where the guitar-driven past of Candy Hearts is most apparent. Sweet, and charming and yet an authenticity to the words, “Will you remember me?” This track was made for a movie with its vivid storytelling of the all-too-common long-distance romances and the trials and heartache that inevitably comes with it.
The EP closes with a track titled “Jellyfish,” a pleasant ukulele track that perfectly encapsulates the entire feeling of the album. Despite the darkness underlying in the storytelling (think of it like… seeing the best cake and when you cut in, it’s carrot cake… ICK! Unless you like carrot cake, you freaks), there is a breeziness to Ice Cream Anti Social which makes it a fun listen, and we guarantee you’ll come back for seconds (even if it is carrot cake…because it’s still cake)!
Fave tracks: “Someday” – how can you not love the optimistic chant chorus of ‘Someday we’re gonna get it right,’ when that’s all we could ever ask for. And of course, “Jellyfish” with it’s lyrics, “I was a shark, now I’m a jellyfish” that leads up to the words “I used to have a spine,” creating a cohesiveness, and even if you’re spineless now, this track is the perfect “fool me twice…” song of it being the last time you give your heart to someone unworthy.
Short, sweet and definitely worth a listen. You can pick up the album here.