Saturday, March 1, 2008
Candle: miles and miles and miles (2008)
When I first saw Candle play in Santa Barbara last year I was very impressed and moved by their brand of pure folksy blues. They had a raw honesty that really spoke to me. Yet, I must admit when I bought their last album Birds Were Meant To Fly I was disappointed. The production was rather dreary and sucked the life out of most of the songs. Now their second LP on Real Love Records miles and miles and miles is coming out March 22nd and I cannot express how much of an improvement this record is over the last one.
No more is it obvious than on the reworking of the song “Say Goodnight,” from the 1st album. The first version featured no drums, a more highlighted banjo and double tracked vocals from Kevin Coons. Don’t get me wrong the song was the best on that album, but the new version will blow your socks off. Still featuring the banjo, the guitar this time adds a lot more atmosphere; the drums give it a kick, and guest vocalist Laura Mulderrig make the tenderness of the song all more apparent. The addition of female vocalist (and keyboard player) Rachel Spotten to Candle has done wonders to diversifying their sound. On "The Lonesome Wind," for example, Rachel's vocals gives song that extra emphasis that it needs to reinforce Kevin’s fragile lyrics.
My biggest complaint last time around was the production and overall on miles and miles and miles there is a greater variety to the songs. Everything sounds brighter, more assured and songs like “Let Me Love You” soar to great heights. Taking a stepping style of singing during the verses, a beautiful little keyboard melody and a self-probing attitude of desperation, the song builds and builds to a crescendo then poignantly trails off. The song “Santa Cruz” shows that while making these songs there are certain instruments and instrumentation that work better than others. A reverb-tinged guitar plucks along to a chorus of singers and appropriately an organ keeps the pace building up like a church hymn. It’s moving and everything adds up more than the sum of its parts.
I think the biggest compliment I can give Candle about miles and miles and miles is that it sounds like they are having a lot of fun and are more attuned to their own abilities as musicians, songwriters, and as a band. They see their strengths and are using them to the fullest.
Candle on myspace
Preorder miles and miles and miles at Real Love Records