Candlebox brings back great memories for me. They played Cleveland often early in their career. They were the hardest working band at the time. They played their asses off every time I saw them. They were building their fans. Fast forward to last November. They played an outdoor show in Cleveland. It was unseasonably cold (even for November) and they went on a good 90 minutes after they were scheduled. Understandably, the crowd had thinned out to maybe 100 people by the time they went on. You would never have known it. Candlebox played their asses off in the cold just like they did in the ’90s. Best of all, Kevin Martin not only sounded great, but he truly appreciated the crowd. Even after the show, he stuck around to shake hands and take photos (see the one I took below).
Candlebox has always impressed me, so I was excited when they recently released their newest CD, Disappearing in Airports. One of the biggest surprises is that this CD is mellow – really mellow. The lead off song, “Only Because of You,” is a good song, but oddly slow to kick off the CD. The first single “Vexatious” keeps the slower vibe going. “Supernova” finally jumps the energy a bit with a funky beat and riff. I would have selected this as the lead single and lead off track. “Alive at Last” slows it back down, but this is the best ballad on the CD. Overall, “The Bridge” is the best song. This is an upbeat rocker (one of the few) that would be a welcome addition to their live set list.
One other factor is that Peter Klett isn’t on this CD and it’s noticeable. His guitar is part of the classic Candlebox sound. Mike Leslie handles lead guitar duties here. He’s good, but the guitars just don’t stand out like they have in the past. Disappearing in Airports is truly a vehicle for Kevin Martin. That’s not a bad thing. He overextends his voice in a couple of spots, but overall his voice shines. The lineup is rounded out by former Pearl Jam drummer Dave Krusen, bassist Adam Kury and rhythm guitarist Brian Quinn.
Despite it being mellow, this is a good CD. Even without Klett, Martin gives it the Candlebox sound that fans love. The songs are catchy and they stay in your head. In a year where there have been quite a few really good rock CDs released, Disappearing in Airports holds its own and is definitely in the top 10 so far, and maybe the top five.