With Candlelight Red and Open Air Stereo!
Love Stories & Other Musings, the fifth studio album from Candlebox (released April 3 on AudioNest/Fontana/Universal), evidences a newfound level of maturity for the band, formed in 1991 in Seattle. At the same time, listening to it with the volume knob cranked up emphatically reveals that frontman Kevin Martin, lead guitarist Peter Klett, drummer Scott Mercado, and their bandmates, remain filled with the youthful exuberance that marked their first go-round in the 1990s, a decade during which they ran off a string of alt-rock classics while selling north of 5 million albums.
“At a time when it’s more difficult than ever for bands to find their niche, it’s nice to have more than 20 years of history as a band to draw on,” says Martin. “We don’t have to find our footing—it’s been there the whole time. We’re rebuilding the style and structure of the band, not to reinvent ourselves but, thanks to our growth and the accessibility of the music we’ve been making during the last couple of years, to allow ourselves to reach a new audience.”
Produced by Ken Andrews (Pete Yorn, A Perfect Circle, Tenacious D, Beck), Love Stories & Other Musings features nine new songs, along with crisp re-recordings of five of the band’s best-loved ’90s hits, including the classics “Far Behind,” “Cover Me,” “You” and “Change,” comprising a bountiful bonus for their legion of diehard fans.
No modern-rock band combines aggression, melodicism and towering hooks more authoritatively than the current Candlebox lineup. They’re in peak form throughout Love Stories & Other Musings, from the unbridled dirty blues (as Klett refers to it) “Lifelike Song” to the cascading “Baby Love” and the throbbing, anthemic “Believe in It,” the first single.
The ecstatic “Sweet Summertime,” with its widescreen, life-embracing payoff, is indeed about Martin’s wife, though it turns on the aching loneliness that ensues when relationships are conducted from a great distance. “Everybody’s had their road song, from Journey to Kid Rock,” he says. “But this one is about not just the difficulty of going on the road but also the passion of being on the road. The line ‘Summertime is my lover’ refers to the time of year when we really get into touring. And as painful as it is being separated from my family, at the same time, this is what I do—this is my job. There’s another line, ‘Lightning’s waiting time,’ which refers to the gap between the lightning striking and the sound of the thunderclap. It’s a metaphor for that moment when you’re about to step onstage, the lights go out and the crowd begins to roar.”