"Wolves" (Pavement Music; 2021)

Reviewed by Snidermann

My daughter and I saw Candlebox at the Ventura Theater back in the mid 90s.  What I remember from that show is that the singer was sick as a dog but he went on anyway and it was a great show. 

Now, all these years later, I see that Candlebox has a new recording out called "Wolves" and, of course, I have to review it. 

"Wolves" is the Candlebox I remember. Good, solid rock, great vocals, strong songwriting and killer music.  After so many years the band is delivering yet another killer release. Deep lyrics put you right into the music, like a wave through the surf.  Great cut after great cut make this one easy band to listen to. "Wolves" is the band's seventh album and, boy, do they know how to put a record. The latest album is as strong as their first and it is my intention to go back through their catalog and add reviews of their previous work here as well.

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"Into the Sun" (Silent Majority; 2008)

Reviewed by Snidermann

The unmistakable sound of Candlebox is back with "Into the Sun," their first recording since "Happy Pills" in 1998. I have followed this band since I reviewed that CD and I can say that, as much as I liked the band in '98, the new recording is a step above anything they have done before.

Kevin Martin's vocals have really grown and the band lets his vocals shine with the mature and stable environment needed to make each track successful. Well, honestly, I must admit I didn't like every track on "Into the Sun." I think there are too many slow songs or "ballads." However, when Candlebox speeds things up, "Into the Sun" rocked the house.

By the way, I once saw Candlebox live and what really impressed me was Martin was very sick with the flu. Instead of cancelling the show, however, they went on delivered a fantastic show, despite the damn flu. Candlebox gets points for that, too.

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"Happy Pills" (Maverick; 1998) candlebox.jpg (10288 bytes)

Reviewed by Snidermann

"Happy Pills" is the third Candlebox release on Maverick Recordings. As you may recall, their self-titled debut CD sold over 9 million copies back in 1993 but their second record didn't fare quite as well.

"Happy Pills" is an introspective look at what it is to be human. It's that same, perhaps somewhat sappy, theme that made them huge in 1993 and works as well today.

"Happy Pills" is packed with twelve songs that are unlike anything the band has released before and yet are still as familiar as an old friend. It is a stronger, more insightful mix of thoughtful tunes than the first recording - whether that makes it more commercial remains to be seen. 

This CD really communicates - it makes the listener feel good about life and about themselves. Those who thought Candlebox was just a mediocre, one-hit wonder back in 1993 should give "Happy Pills" a listen. They are a killer band with a killer vocalist. They may not qualify as heavy metal but they certainly rock hard enough. 

Candlebox is a strong band that has all its pistons firing in the right direction and seems to be going on the right course. The band has a new drummer, Dave Krusen (Pearl Jam), and he fits the band like a glove.

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"Candlebox" (Warner Bros.; 1993)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Although the grunge era of the 90s never did borrow any music from the 80s, they did seem to borrow names, titles and certain pieces. That’s how Candlebox got their name. They took their name from a line in a Midnight Oil song. 

Candlebox was formed during the grunge era but their sound was more polished than their predecessors so they sort of got pushed aside. No bother, they became part of the post-grunge sound that produced bands like Bush and others. Candlebox also embraced a blues style with their guitar. Of all the grunge bands I had to endure, Candlebox was the one I welcomed.

These guys had a sound that wasn’t much different from 90s music; they just didn’t adopt all the sloppiness. They were considerable musicians and, instead of scratching up their instruments in hopes of a raw sound, this band rounded off the edges and created some of the best wheat that came from the chafe.

The guitar is quiet in some parts but never absent. The low level amplified acoustics were still better than anything I’d heard since the 80s, but when the solos start you can tell a definite difference in musical quality. Since most the music of the 90s was called alternative, I agreed with the guitar term for this band. I would rather hear a refined solo than a feedback-filled dog whistle, like before.

Vocalist Kevin Martin, can flat out sing. He doesn’t screech like a scalded dog. Because his sound was maybe too slick for grunge types of the day he was passed off as a pretty boy with pipes for a different type of music. Opinions are like elbows (people always have two of them) but the fact is that Kevin could rival most of the singers of his time, and he still can. The drums were a solid addition as well; I never heard them take over or step out of line.

Most people heard Candlebox and could take 'em or leave 'em. I reveled in their success and I have all three CDs. Even though their time has come and gone, there is no mistaking the powerful riffs and blistering blues guitar solos from Peter Klett and vocal talents from front man Kevin Martin.

Candlebox: Kevin Martin – vocals, guitar; Peter Klett – guitar; Scott Mercado – drums.

The best candles to burn are “Don’t You,” “Change,” “You,” “Far Behind,” “Arrow,” and “Cover Me.”

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2021 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.