Candlebox – Into the Sun
Silent Majority (7/22/08)
Almost a decade to the day since its last release (Happy Pills, 7/21/98), Candlebox has risen again and produced an album to equal its self-titled debut album.
Bursting onto the scene in 1993, the band may have found itself in the middle of a win-lose situation; the right-place, right-time story was both a blessing and a curse. Hailing from Seattle, label mismanagement attempted to capitalize on this fact and the band found itself lumped in with the grunge scene. This may have garnered the group a little extra attention, but as the music landscape shifted in the mid-’90s, the band unfortunately got lost in the shuffle (releasing the overlooked-yet-superior Lucy in 1995 and the weaker Happy Pills three years later). As the world welcomed a new millennium, the band was pretty much forgotten.
Into the Sun reminds listeners how missed Kevin Martin’s soulful vocals have been in the rock scene. The album is immediately comfortable, and the band manages to string together a collection of songs to rival its best effort. For a moment, the group seems to channel “You” in opener “Stand”, the familiar riffs giving way to a more modern explosion of rock. Candlebox also channels the intensity of earlier tracks like “Simple Lessons”, offering up a nice blend of riff-heavy rock and roll with just the right amount of blues influence. The band shifts from louder material (the aforementioned “Stand”) to a more laid-back rock-blues approach (“Bitches Brewin'”) but really shines the brightest when it gets melancholic (“Surrendering”, “Miss You” and the title-track). Of note are the aforementioned and much-missed vocals from Martin and the fantastic guitar work from Peter Klett (check out the solos on “Bitches Brewin'”, “Underneath it All” and especially “Surrendering”).
Of particular note is the blues-heavy, eight-minute-plus “Breath Me In” (which, for some reason, is split into two separate tracks on the album—an intro and the actual song), but truth be told, there isn’t a weak track on here. Managing to channel the ghost of Mother Love Bone, the band just rocks out in every way imaginable.
The best part of this entire album is that Candlebox never sounds dated, and the band was never so huge that the effort might reek of a nostalgia trip. Instead, the group puts forth one of this year’s strongest rock releases. Longtime fans can rejoice, and those new to the table can enjoy the ride.