Warner Brothers Records, 1993

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Very much of the early 90s, Candlebox is one of those post-grunge bands that tended to emerge between 1992 and 1997 with regularity. Yet another Seattle band with a similar sound to the better-known bands of that city, the group nevertheless hit it big with the hit "Far Behind."my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Yet the group had more of an impact that was at first realized, because they helped commercialize the sometimes-willfully-obscure sound of grunge to make it more palatable to the mainstream. Where Nirvana could turn punk and Alice in Chains flat-out metal, bands like Candlebox were safe but still somewhat credible.

The music of Candlebox mines a similar strain as Pearl Jam, that of a classic rock feel with slight blues leanings and the loud/soft, minor-chord dynamics of 90s alt-rock. "Far Behind" remains the best song here, but by no means is the rest of this filler; as 90s rock albums go, this one isn't half bad, if wholly derivative and rarely powerful or emotional, the way Pearl Jam's best music is (side note: Is there a better rock release of the 1990s then Ten? Discuss).

"Don't You" is a muscular opener and "You" has a decent riff that breaks open into a guitar solo (really) partway through. "Arrow" has elements of Guns 'n' Roses and "Rain" is a bluesy song that isn't half bad, considering that blues never really played a part in the grunge sound. "Cover Me" sounds similar to what has come before but takes an acoustic approach.

Candlebox remains a solid, mostly unremarkable debut that helped set the stage for the commercializing of alternative rock. A sound so rooted to a time and place does not make for a classic album or a sound that ever breaks out of its mold, but the disc still has a few joys for those who enjoy this era of music.

Rating: C+

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