Album Reviews

The Candles

Matter + Spirit

Artist:     The Candles

Album:     Matter + Spirit

Label:     The End Records

Release Date:     12/16/2016

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After three albums, one would think The Candles would be better known. Their easy, accessible sound clearly enhances their appeal, and with a track record that includes backing duties with Norah Jones, they ought to be able to reply on their credibility. Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Josh Lattanzi has also spent a fair amount of time in the proverbial trenches, playing alongside such luminaries as Brian Wilson, Lucinda Williams, Ann Wilson, Boz Scaggs, Emmylou Harris and Donald Fagen, all of which ought to be enough to convince this group has the goods.

If credentials alone aren’t enough to convince, then a single listen to their winning new record, Matter + Spirit, states their case succinctly. Effortlessly alluring and possessing breezy soft rock melodies that sound as if they just drifted down from Laurel Canyon along with shimmering harmonies that sync on practically every song, The Candles–Lattanzi, guitarist Jason Roberts, keyboard player Pete Remm and drummer Greg Wierczorek–find a flawless blend that has songs such as “Back to the City,” “Followed,”“Blue Skies and Sun” and a swaying, serene cover of “Lost My Driving Wheel” boasting echoes of the serendipitous ‘70s, all cast in the golden glow of summery haze. Even when Jones herself makes a cameo as a sign of support, it hardly seems to matter. This quartet is so alluring all on their own that any incidental additive comes across as supremely superfluous.

Fans of Poco, the latter day Byrds, Pure Prairie League and the Flying Burritos Brothers will find plenty to warmly embrace here, as will any fan of archival country rock. There’s no other way to say this — with Matter + Spirit, The Candles cast a bright light.

–Lee Zimmerman

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