More than five years after the release of its then latest album, Disappearing in Airports, Candlebox is scheduled to return with its latest album this week. The 11-song album, Wolves, is scheduled for release Friday through Pavement Entertainment. The 49-minute album (the band’s seventh) is arguably the band’s most accessible to date. That is evidenced through its musical and lyrical content. The record’s opener, ‘All Down Hill From Here Now’ is just one of the ways in which this is proven. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Don’t Count Me Out,’ the album’s penultimate entry,’ is another example of how the album’s musical and lyrical content comes together to make the record appealing. It will be examined a little later. ‘Nothing Left To Lose,’ which comes just past the album’s midpoint, is yet another example of the power of the album’s combined musical and lyrical content. When this and the other songs addressed here are considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes Wolves arguably Candlebox’s best album yet.
Seven is truly a lucky number for the veteran rock band, Candlebox. That is because the band’s seventh album, Wolves, proves to be its best work to date. That is proven in part right from the album’s outset in the form of ‘All Down Hill From Here.’ It is interesting that the band would open its new album with a song with such a title. That is because from there on, it is anything but down hill. Rather, the album stays solid from that point on. The hard rock-infused song’s arrangement is an immediate fit for any active rock radio programmer’s play list. The first name that comes to mind in making a comparison here is Buckcherry. It is just one of the acts to which one can compare here. Between the guitars, the rich, steady bass line, equally powerful vocals from front man Kevin Martin, the whole makes this song stylistically similar to so many of Candlebox’s popular counterparts. At the same time, the arrangement still boasts its own unique identity separate from those acts’ works. All things considered, the song is a powerful start to the album, which again is anything but downhill from here.
While the musical arrangement featured in ‘All Down Hill From Here Now’ is important in its own right to the song’s presentation, it is just one part of the song’s appeal. The song’s lyrical theme makes for its own appeal. While the song’s title infers someone being fed up with things, the song’s message is actually somewhat different. In this case, it seems like Martin is writing about just how far he has come and where he perhaps saw things, sarcastically of course, at the point at which point the song was written. This is especially inferred as Martin sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “I spent half of my life/In a rock ‘n’ roll band/Half the time alive/Most the time dead/Had one too many whiskey/Two to many times/Buy you people keep on giving/And I keep doing fine/Yes, I’ve seen so many faces/Seen a couple thousand towns/And I made it to the peak, babe/But it’s all down hill from here.” He continues in the song’s second verse,” “More than once lost direction/More than once lost track of time/Like running in these circles/Is gonna change my f***** mind/They say the harder they come/The harder they fall….Yes I’ve seen so many faces/Seen one too many towns/But the circus keeps on running, baby/And it’s all down hill from here now.” Taking all of this into account together, it is hardly the only song ever written by any act about the tediousness of life on the road, but the manner in which such song is presented here is unique. It would have been so easy for the band to go the typical deep, emotional piece, but rather, the band instead took more of a lighter, almost playful approach than those other songs. It is just one way in which the album’s collective musical and lyrical content shows the record’s strength. ‘Don’t Count Me Out’ is another way in which the album shines.
‘Don’t Count Me Out’ presents a familiar country/western/southern rock style musical arrangement that will appeal to a wide range of audiences. It is a sound and stylistic approach that is easily comparable to works from the likes of Black Stone Cherry, Dust For Life, and others of that ilk. The thing to remember is that, as noted, the song’s musical arrangement still presents its own unique identity. That is especially considering the 80s hair metal influence that is so subtly woven into that southern rock sound and stylistic approach. The whole is an infectious arrangement that is sure to keep listeners engaged from beginning to end of the five minute-plus opus. The energy in the song’s musical arrangement works with the song’s lyrical content to make the song even more appealing.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘Don’t Count Me Out’ comes across as a statement of confidence and resilience. That is inferred as Martin sings in the song’s lead chorus, “You can’t keep me down/Complete me/Repeat me/Condition me/ There is much that is difficult to decipher in the song’s lead verse that is difficult to decipher sans lyrics to reference, but the message so far makes the song’s lyrical theme easy enough to understand. The added mention later in the song of witnessing “the coming hate” and reaping what we sow is itself a statement of disgust at the state of society, but not giving up despite it as the song returns to the chorus. Martin additionally sings, “Can we dance and just let things go?” and “Can we see the beauty without being told?” Again this is even more to the statement of not letting the state of society get the better of one’s self, but rather seeing the positive in things. That seeming overarching message pairs with the song’s catchy musical arrangement to make the song even more proof of how much Wolves has to offer audiences. It is just one more of the songs that serves to show what makes the album stand out among this year’s field of new rock albums. ‘Nothing Left To Lose’ is another example of the album’s positives.
‘Nothing Left To Lose’ immediately engages and entertains audiences through its fiery musical arrangement. The three-minute-plus opus in the hardest and loudest of the album’s entries. The use of the fuzzed instrumentation and vocals immediately conjures thoughts of Motorhead, especially as the song progresses. Even Martin’s vocal delivery style evokes thoughts of Lemmy Kilmister. The thick, driving, guitar punk/hard rock approach stands out at least to this critic as one of the album’s most prominent musical arrangements. It is just one part of what makes the song stand out. The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement adds its own share of appeal to the presentation.
As with certain other additions to the album, there is some content that is difficult to decipher without lyrics to reference. Though, there is some content that one can decipher just by ear. From what little can be deciphered in the verses, this song comes across lyrically as someone who is just fed up and done with someone else’s garbage. That is especially inferred with the statement about watching someone drown after taking them down “like a shipwreck.” The frustration that Martin exudes as he sings just delivers that seeming message of simply being fed up with someone else and being done with that person once and for all. It is just pure anger and frustration. If in fact that interpretation is anywhere in the proverbial ballpark, then it is certain to help plenty of listeners deal with just such a kind of person. That is because everyone knows and/or knows of someone like that individual who has evoked such frustration. To that end, that seeming message together with the song’s musical arrangement shows even more why audiences will appreciate Wolves. It is hardly the last of the album’s most notable songs, either. The band offers up some more deeply emotional content throughout the record, such as the Train/Marron 5-esque ‘Riptide,’ and the contemplative ‘We.’ ‘Trip,’ another late entry, offers up a work that is its own easy fit on any Adult Contemporary and Top 40 radio station. In other words, between the songs examined here and everything else, this record offers much for audiences to appreciate musically and lyrically. It collectively makes the album in whole a standout return for Candlebox that is among the best of the year’s new rock albums.
Candlebox’s forthcoming album, Wolves is a strong new return for the band. That is evidenced through the album’s musical and lyrical content throughout. The songs examined here do well to support the noted statements, too. When they are considered with the rest of the album’s offerings, the whole shows it will appeal to a wide range of audiences. To that end, the whole proves itself to be among the best of this year’s new rock albums.
Wolves is scheduled for release Friday through Pavement Entertainment. More information on the album is available along with all of Candblebox’s latest news at:
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