Few bands are able to translate the energy and essence of their live shows to the studio. Although Starcandy's debut offering, 'Set It Off,' was well-received by the music press-'a heated mix of funk/jazz/soul with perspiration clinging to the lip,' 'a great batch of original tunes heavily influenced by Philly soul, Motown rock, and classic funk,' 'often funky, sometimes Latin-inspired, and always lively'-the recording was a studio rendering of the band live, a snapshot of where it was in 2002. The group knew it had to figure out a way to represent all the facets of it's sound, and the first step was to take total control from the start of it's follow-up offering. To that end, drummer Marc Gratama and bassist Tim Deuchler oversaw the recording of Starcandy's second disc. Vocalist Renée Ruffin, saxophonist and vocalist Marqueal Jordan, and guitarist Scott Leff collaborated with them on the project's production. The decision was made early on to take time to experiment in order to capture the sounds and performances the band knew they had in them. In addition, the group stripped all of the tunes down to the bare bones and then built them back up in the studio. The result is Starcandy's second disc, 'Up Close.' Featuring 14 originals, it captures the feeling of the tunes as performed live but expands on that vision with layers of vocals, loops, and sounds treatments. Since the band oversaw all facets of the recording-production, performances, overdubs, mixes, and mastering-what emerged was an end product consistent with the essence of each of the tunes. Touching on the all of the band's influences, from rock to soul to funk and all points in between, 'Up Close' is a cohesive musical statement and reveals a band that has matured from a group that knows how to put on a great live show to one that understands how to create moods and tell stories. Starcandy is made up of established musicians from the Chicago scene. Formed in the fall of 2001, the band has built a reputation for electrifying live shows and has played such venues as the Metro, Wise Fools Pub, Beat Kitchen, and others as well as the Taste of Chicago and other street festivals. Starcandy has been featured on WXRT's 'Local Anesthetic,' and it's music was featured in the documentary film 'The Bulls of Suburbia.' The group was the featured entertainment for the Lookingglass Theatre's 2004 Mad Hatter's Ball.