Disappearing In Airports

Candlebox

Pavement Entertainment, 2016

http://www.candleboxrocks.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/03/2016

While I applaud Candlebox for expanding their sound beyond their multi-platinum 1993 debut – a sound definitely not in style in 2016 – it seems they have only moved forward in time five years, which isn’t much better.

Granted, only singer Kevin Martin remains from the original lineup. The rest of the band came on board with the 2008 comeback effort Into The Sun save drummer Dave Krusen, who actually joined up on 1998’s Happy Pills. Yet the band’s sound didn’t change at all from 1993 until the first part of 2012’s Love Stories And Other Musings, which showed them loosening up and moving away from the noisy, faux-grunge, generic grind that colors most of their catalog.

That spirit is still on display here, but again, the music has only moved forward a few years in inspiration, sounding too much like Matchbox 20 and the other post-post-grunge bands of the late ‘90s (Everclear, Third Eye Blind, etc.). To be fair, this is a welcome sound for ‘90s kids like me who were in high school when those three bands were all over the radio; also, we had Kid Rock, Eminem, Britney Spears, Limp Bizkit, and NSYNC, so it wasn’t an entirely happy time, but those days are long behind us.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Point is, this is a journeyman rock album, similar in spirit and sound to what many ‘90s rock bands are making now – discs that are warm and burnished, bring some guitar thunder like before, but aren’t really challenging or boundary-pushing or modern, even if they sound good and professional. There isn’t much here that jumps out, but the songs are comforting and familiar, like “Supernova,” “Alive At Last” and the anthemic, trying-too-hard “I Want It Back.”

On every Candlebox album, though, there are a few hard rock gems, and on this one it’s “The Bridge.” It starts out like the Foo Fighters’ “Everlong” and transitions into a generic ‘90s alt-rocker, but picks up steam and intensity (thanks mostly to Krusen) before things let loose into two electric guitar solos, the latter being one of the better solos I’ve heard in the last few years not performed by Gary Clark Jr. or Joe Bonamassa. It’s not enough to make you re-evaluate the album, but man, is it a burst of fire. Similarly, “God’s Gift” is the token speedy rocker, amping up the verses but awkwardly slowing down for the choruses, and it doesn’t work in the end.

Writing a Candlebox CD that doesn’t sound like Candlebox is a fine decision 23 years into a career, but writing one that sounds like Matchbox 20 in its prime is not the way to go. “Only Because Of You” is not the song that should have started this set; my money is on the pulse-racing closer “Keep On Waiting,” a Queens Of The Stone Age-ish riff-rocker definitely in Martin’s wheelhouse and the second-best song on the record. Three solid songs does not a great album make, but for comfort food needed during a fit of music nostalgia and memories of a misspent ‘90s youth, Disappearing In Airports is perfectly serviceable.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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