Bands like Candy Hearts are a rare breed these days. We're talking about earnest pop-punk acts that pair personal lyrics with upbeat instrumentation without playing into the pretension and posturing of today's rockstar culture. Now after spending most of the year on the road honing their craft, Candy Hearts have teamed up with New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert to release their new EP The Best Ways To Disappear—and if you're a fan of pop-punk, this collection of songs just might make your year. Candy Hearts were born in 2010 when guitarist/vocalist Mariel Loveland met with guitarist Kris Hayes while the duo were in college together in upstate New York —and once they hooked up with bassist Christian Stefos Migliorese and drummer Matt Ferraro they instantly knew they were onto something special. In that spirit they instantly started touring and writing and it wasn't long until Chad Gilbert heard one of his bandmates blaring Candy Hearts' music on New Found Glory's tour bus. "I don't know where they got our music from but Chad direct messaged me out of nowhere on Twitter saying that he wanted to work with us," Loveland explains, adding that things didn't really start moving forward until Candy Hearts returned from a successful tour alongside Man Overboard and she threw herself into writing. Once Gilbert heard what the band were working on he signed on to produce The Best Ways To Disappear and release it on Violently Happy, his new imprint through Bridge 9 Records. However we're guessing that even Gilbert himself couldn't predict how much the band would progress in the process of writing these songs. Correspondingly The Best Ways To Disappear sees the bad taking a massive step forward both sonically and lyrically. "We definitely wanted this album to have more of an alternative vibe like our last one and I really think that's what Chad brought to the table with this album." It's true, while the album recalls 90s female fronted bands as well as indie crossover acts such as Lemuira, beneath the power-chords and jaw-dropping bass fills at their core these are pop songs and they've got an infectious energy that makes them sound undeniably fresh after multiple listens and countless car rides. "Why Candy Hearts? Well, listen to them. It's undeniable. Truthful lyrics sung to a sweet, honest melody over a 90's-alt-rock-meets-east-bay-gritty-punk-rhythm," Gilbert elaborates. "A sound that would appeal to a Jawbreaker fan, a Green Day fan and even a Lemonheads fan, if you are into being nostalgic. Mariel reveals a lot in her lyrics that I think will give music fans a place to go when they need to feel like they aren't alone," he continues. "Real songs by real people wanting nothing more than to play them to people and I intend to help them." From the saccharine pop of "Ticklish" to the acoustically driven ballad "Sick Of It" and palm-muted crunch of "Miles And Interstates," The Best Ways To Disappear displays the various sides of Candy Hearts' sound but also reveals that at their core the group are all about honest songwriting. "When I wrote these songs I tried to focus on them completely; I just wanted to be in a room and be able to write about the last year of my life without any distractions," Loveland explains, adding that these songs are as much of an extension of who she is as they are of the musical force that Candy Hearts have become. "I don't think I'll ever be completely comfortable to put myself out there so much the way I do on this record but I've always wanted this band to be completely true to ourselves and that's just what our band has always been about," Loveland responds when asked how it feels to get share her innermost personal dialogue on songs like "Matchbox." " I write music because it comes to me naturally. I hope that by sharing my experiences I can relate to people and people can relate to my songs,” she explains. “I hope that the songs I write will help people and make them feel not so alone because they know that someone else feels like they do.”
Despite the fact that the situations on The Best Ways To Disappear are specific, the themes of heartbreak and awkwardness are innately universal and the same can be said of Candy Hearts' music. This collection of songs is upbeat and celebratory but like life there are also moments of darkness and self-doubt which are also a part of the experience. "You are a song in my head, my voice is sore from singing it," Loveland sings during "Miles And Interstates." There are a lot of exits ahead of us, so we suggest turning it up and putting your foot on the gas pedal.