Candlebox – The Long Goodbye (Album Review)

Formed in 1990, and breaking through to the mainstream in 1993 with their self-titled debut record, Candlebox’s story is rather interesting. Bowing out by 2000, the band would surprisingly reunite in 2006, and as a result, have been active ever since. Compelling because they released more albums during their second chapter, Candlebox’s longevity is quite inspiring. Granted many of the original members beyond Kevin Martin have not appeared on an album together since 2008’s Into the Sun, Candlebox as an entity have marched on with various other talented musicians.

Producing a list of quality music over the last fifteen years, in 2023, the final pages of the Candlebox’s book are being forged. Yes, that is right, Candlebox announced back in June that they would be releasing their last album which would also be supporting their final tour. A farewell that is bound to have many fans torn, on August 25th the amply titled The Long Goodbye will be launched.

Set for release through Round Hill Records, it comes just a few months after the exceptional Live at The Neptune album which features the original lineup all performing together for a magical acoustic set. Something some listeners might have missed; Live at The Neptune leaves you wondering if the final Candlebox studio album would also feature the original lineup. Answering that immediately, it does not, but it does of course feature the incomparable frontman Kevin Martin, along with Adam Kury on bass, Brian Quinn on lead guitar, Island Styles on rhythm guitar, and BJ Kerwin on drums. So, what can fans expect from the final studio recordings of Candlebox?

Well, if you have kept up with the band over the last fifteen years, you know their sound has progressed and gone in various different directions. Sounding fairly different than they did in ’93, ‘95’s Lucy or ‘98’s Happy Pills, you need to also understand that musicians grow. No one is going to make the same album over and over again, because it is about expanding your abilities and pushing the boundaries of your songwriting. Doing just that, Martin and his polished group of players have forged very solid Hard Rock albums together. Weaving in a more Blues Rock sound, something that was clearly laced into Candlebox’s early material anyway, The Long Goodbye is no different.

An album featuring ten tracks, it is strong with melodic guitar riffs, catchy vocal hooks, and an energetic delivery. That said, much of the record might feel a bit brighter sonically than earlier Candlebox music. What this means is that the recording is very modern, loud and clear. This is evident from the start with “Punks,” “What Do You Need,” and “I Should Be Happy.” However, more mellow moments also prevail with tracks like “Elegante” and “Nails on A Chalkboard” or “Maze.”

All very well composed songs, perhaps some of the most striking lyrics of The Long Goodbye are heard on “Ugly,” which reflects on the disingenuous behaviors of humans toward one another, and “Cellphone Jesus,” where we get to open our eyes to the damage technology has truly done to human’s progression as actual people.

All in all, The Long Goodbye is a strong Rock album that should satisfy new and long-time Candlebox fans alike. It dips in and out of moods all while offering up soulful lyrics with honest observations of the world at hand. It will be sad to see Candlebox go, but if anything, fans should be grateful that the band has continued on this long. A swansong that is mature and fitting, Cryptic Rock gives The Long Goodbye 4 out of 5 stars. 

Candlebox – The Long Goodbye / Round Hill Records (2023)
Like the in-depth, diverse coverage of Cryptic Rock? Help us in support to keep the magazine going strong for years to come with a small donation.

No comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *