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Candlebox - Happy Pills (1998) Retail CD
Alternative Pop/ Rock
For those who don't know, Candlebox are a saner, less drug driven, less sexually driven version of Guns N' Roses. Or they were...on their self-titled debut disc, they produced fine hard rock that could rank up there with Axl Rose and co.'s better material but was never truly heard as it should have been, where their second disc, 'Lucy' (or 'Widelux' as Amazon have called it for some reason), was a sophomore slump that may have contained more of the same, but the spark just wasn't there...so in 1998, they employed a producer known as Ron Nevison, who'd already produced for such classic rock artistsmore… as Aerosmith, which was a basic nudge on the shoulder that they were angling as a more classic approach. And they did. Whether this is to be Candlebox's final album, since they haven't released one in 5 years, it will certainly be a fine, if not unheard, wave of their drumsticks and plectrums goodbye.The sheer amount of response to their albums, or lack of, has always been Candlebox's problem. Despite their debut being a pretty popular disc in the State's, it still didn't achieve both musically or commercially, as it should have. So now maybe Candlebox have decided to relax and just let what flows flow. Their new approach along with a few older traits of theirs does work well and does suit them, particularly vocalist Kevin Martin, who possesses a fine Robert Plant-esque scream and voice, and yes, they do produce some fine riffs throughout 'Happy Pills' but while it is a personal move upwards, it's commercially it was always going to be a sheer descent. Throughout their debut disc, and to some extent 'Lucy' they did have their own stylistics and were fairly individual, whereas 'Happy Pills' has left any individuality they had behind. So when they've finally produced songs of the potential as their debut, they're making songs that don't seem to be theirs...That aside there is some fine music on 'Happy Pills'. Opener, '10,000 Horses' is a slow burning classic rock style song that glides along nicely and settles you into an album, but not really telling you of the smooth, but slightly uneven ride ahead. The title track, which I believe was a single, is not a good song at all. The opening of the track in particular just does not suit the band, and makes Martin sound ridiculous. That one whole song as a let down aside, Candlebox do possess the goods on here, but their best material on 'HP' may surprise those who have grown to love them as a fine hard rock band. Candlebox's ballads, in particularly, 'It' Alright' and 'Sometimes', are terrific examples of low-key stunners of a heart-broken quality, that make this album worth buying just for those two songs. Subtle and containing lyrics that contain surprising amounts of depth, Candlebox's ballads are sure to surprise, but that's not saying they're the only good songs on here. And they don't half go through the motions either...'Breakaway' is a sunny, mid-tempo rocker, that is a Candlebox classic if there was going to be one from 'Happy Pills', the almost Zepplin-esque blues rocker which ends the album, 'Look What You've Done' could have been a big hit had it been released say, 30 years earlier. It does leave an impression that this is an album that was released at the wrong time, but that doesn't mean that there isn't anything for today’s audience. As already mentioned, those ballads will appeal to both the young and older broken hearts, but tracks such as quiet-loud, 'Blinders' and the shining, 'Step Back', do offer commercial value that Candlebox haven't possessed since their classic single, 'Left Behind'.So, like 'Lucy', 'Happy Pills' is schizophrenic in its ways, but certainly does its job and does it well, if with slightly inconsistent prowess about it, but you could do a lot worse than this. Candlebox have always had a lot going for them, and have always had talent for writing good songs, but they just seem written at the wrong time. Seemingly, if they're still an operating unit, it's about time Candlebox put individuality above influence.3.5 Stars.
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- Candlebox - Happy Pills (1998) Retail CD
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- 13/10/11 by breakaway
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Rated 5 of 5 (1 votes). Click CDs to vote!