Candlebox hit the scene with their self-titled debut in 1993. A hard rock four-piece coming out of the over-saturated Seattle music scene that was still reeling from the great grunge takeover of 1991. Candlebox stood apart from their hometown’s contemporaries in that they made straight up alternative rock that veered closer to Janes Addiction than Tad. With the strong vocals of Kevin Martin and groove-heavy rhythm section, Candlebox stood out as a band that could satisfy both the metalheads and alt-radio listeners alike.
Nearly 30 years after that hugely successful debut Candlebox are releasing a new album called Wolves. Singer Kevin Martin leads a new group of musicians, but still manages to capture the vitality of that debut with 11 new tracks.
“All Down Hill From Here Now” opens Wolves on a chugging riff and bombastic drums. Kevin Martin laments on the time spent playing rock and roll and its excesses like a veteran of some war filled with debauchery and broken dreams. He can still hit those notes, despite the whiskeys and women of yesteryear. “Riptide” is the other side of that coin, poignant piano and balladry the band always balanced well on past albums. “My Weakness” veers almost into Lifehouse and Blue October territory, crossing the line into adult alternative territory. Thirty years in, sometimes you gotta act your age, right? This is a pretty good fit for the band.
The band veers into bluesy, country vibes with “Let Me Down Easy”. “Lost Angeline” is even more of a straight up jangle rock track. Once again, this is a good fit for Kevin Martin’s weathered vocals. His voice has aged well, with a touch of Tesla’s Jeff Keith coming out in these dusty tracks.
Not every band can last a decade, let only three decades. And when that band only sports one original member the odds are stacked even higher against them. It seems though Kevin Martin has kept the spirit of rock and roll alive and well in Candlebox. Wolves is a solid rock and roll banger thirty years in, and with something for everyone.