Alright…You Picked It! And this one was really, really close. There were three going for the gold and one edge them out slightly. It was much closer than last months blow away with that horrendous Captain Beefheart album you guys tortured me with. Thankfully you went easy on me this time. The winder is Candlebox’s ‘Wolves’ which is a new album and as a result, one I’ve never heard. I am glad to have something less challenging this time around as I am still in therapy from the last album. Good news is the crying has stopped.
- Candlebox – ‘Wolves’ – 7 votes
- MC5 – ‘Kick Out the Jams’ – 5 votes
- Guns ‘N Roses – ‘Chinese Democracy’ – 5 votes
- Issac Hayes – ‘Hot Buttered Soul’ – 4 votes
- Mothers Finest ‘ Another Mother Further’ – 1 Vote
Thanks to all for participating. The November choices will be up on Saturday!
CANDLEBOX – ‘WOLVES’
There are not too many 90’s bands that are still around putting out decent music, but thankfully for us, Candlebox still is. Their last release, 2016’s ‘Disappearing in Airports’, was absolutely stellar. Go check out that review. So I had high hopes for this one. The only original member still in the band is lead singer, Kevin Martin, and since his voice is what I always loved about the band, I am okay with that fact. He still can sing and such a good tone on his vocals.
The band’s old sound was grunge and they were pretty good at it. It was much heavier than we have been given lately and that is okay. The band is older, more mature and have evolved. The sound now is more pop rock with some heavy garage elements at times but more on a softer side at other times and all in a good way. Nothing bad about that change. I applaud that change as grunge is kinda depressing.
The album kicks off with “All Down Hill From Here” co-written by Kevin and Blind Mellon guitarist Christopher Thorn. The song is on the heavier side full of grit and grime and a killer guitar sound. There is a slow and dirty groove and Kevin’s vocals are smooth if not a little rough at times as well. Brian Quinn’s guitar work is also stellar with a killer solo. This is a slammer of an opener. “Let Me Down Easy” starts off like with a honky tonk groove before going all garage rock with a flair that sucks you in and gets you moving. This one was co-written by Peter Cornell, yeah Chris’ brother and he and Kevin crafted a brilliant track.
The band slows it down a little with “Riptide” and totally change the course of the album. We getting a somber song with haunting vocals. When the chorus kicks in I feel like they’ve gone a little OneRepublic on us with the catchy chorus, but better. This is a different, unexpected side of the band. “Sunshine” goes in another direction with the buzz and twangy filled guitars giving it this whole western vibe and I’m digging it.. If you want a throwback, this could’ve fit on “Into the Sun” from 2008.
“My Weakness” feels like it was right off the last album ‘Disappearing in Airports’ and since I love that album, this is quickly a favorite. It is a little poppy, upbeat and a little more sunshine feeling compared to the rest. This is the softer side of the band that I think is a welcome change. “We” is a slow builder that gets more intense than goes acoustic with some effects put on Kevin’s vocals before the drums kick in and it starts building again but never explodes out. Instead it grooves with some wah-wah on the guitars and gives us another style to the band. They definitely keep things varied and interesting.
The band turns it up to the Nigel Tufnel 11 with “Nothing Left to Lose”. It is raw, heavy and curses more than a sailor. The band goes all metal on us with this one as a cross between Motorhead and well, really just Motorhead. He is singing in a slurred style that Lemmy made famous and I love every second of it. “Lost Angeline” sounds like a Gin Blossoms throwback with its guitar sound and I am up for that. It is an upbeat joyful sounding romp. It will get you up and dancing or least bopping your head and moving your feet.
“Trip” is up next and leans more to a power ballad or at least a song from the heart. It is uplifting and really makes you feel good. “Don’t Count Me Out” brings back some of the gritty guitar sound with this one and kicks up the heavy a little more but sort of drags a long, meandering not going anywhere I felt it was going to go. The album ends with “Criminal” which feels like you are floating. The song takes me back to the beginning as Kevin sings in the style remember from maybe ‘Lucy’ or ‘Happy Pills’. This might be the most throwback song on the album. A little nod to let you know they are still Candlebox. And Amen to that!!
Candlebox is still swinging for the fences and to me they are hitting those homeruns. Kevin’s vocals are still astounding, but he is only as good as the players behind him and with Brian Quinn on Lead Guitar, Island Styles on Rhythm Guitar, Adam Kury on Bass and Robin Diaz on drums, I would say he has a solid line-up. Enough with the baseball analogies.
Candlebox is still putting out solid music and after 30 years I am still a fan and will be for a long time to come. As far as the album, the first half of the album is strong with some real heavy tracks and really cool sounds. The back half of the album starts strong but does weaken a little with some of the final tracks although I still like them. The band seems tight, focused and ready to play. I love the variety on the album and they do deliver some really cool tracks that will get played a lot. Overall, it is still a solid 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars. I like it a lot but I think I am partial to the prior album a little more. That doesn’t mean I didn’t buy this one as it is on order and should be hear a couple weeks as Amazon was sold out and expecting more soon.