CANDLEBOX – The Long Goodbye (2023)

CANDLEBOX - The Long Goodbye (2023) - full

In the days when grunge ruled the airwaves and all roads led to Seattle, the latter-day adherent to the craze known as CANDLEBOX was definitely among the more enigmatic figures to grace the scene. Occasionally dismissed as posers by purists of the day due to their association with Madonna’s Maverick Records and their initially more conservative blend of blues / classic rock influences, truth is the band were one of the few good acts from that era.
Now 2023, after 30 years since formed, CANDLEBOX are releasing their final studio album, the properly titled “The Long Goodbye“, and a farewell tour, after which the band will break up and vocalist Kevin Martin plans to retire from music.
This is a strong and satisfying album that shows CANDLEBOX as so much more than just another one-trick pony, a band that survived the post-grunge creating interesting rock songs.

Though continually dogged by shifting lineups that has found lead vocalist Martin as the sole original member of the fold, the Candlebox brand has endured into the present day and provided a more open and varied side to the generally insular and rustic character of the Seattle rock scene.
As such, the bittersweet eventuality of this particular hard rock trail coming to an end is no less noteworthy, and the musical contents rounding out the duration of this band’s 8th and final studio effort no less intricate. The band has opted to close things out on a decidedly eclectic note here.

The songwriting and overall stylistic flavor that shapes these last songs largely straddles the divide between the blues/rock driven swagger of the 1993 debut and the varied mixture of influences that followed, with Kevin’s vocal approach coming off as correspondingly forceful yet nuanced, whereas the production work of Don Miggs brings in a decidedly rich and modern approach.

When all is said and done, what truly sells this album, regardless of which unique stylistic quirks are employed, is that all involved rock out as loud and proud as possible at every turn. Cranking up the decibels and recalling the punchy simplicity of the old Seattle sound, unapologetic banger “Punks” sets the album on a raucous course, all the while confining the usual themes of rebellion and angst into a highly catchy rock template.
“What Do You Need?” treads a similarly hook-driven path, albeit more indicative of the down tempo bluesy swagger of this outfit’s formative years and with a decidedly soulful guest vocal slot courtesy of Mona front man Nick Brown to complement Kevin Martin’s attitude-laced pipes.

Straightforward rock odes like “Elegante” and “Ugly” walk a rather intricate tightrope between their classic and newer sound. Even more whimsical sounding modern rockers like “Cellphone Jesus” and “Foxy” hit hard and true, though the most artistically profound moments are reserved for the melancholy balladry of “Maze” and the Beatles-inspired rock mini-epic “Hourglass”.

“The Long Goodbye” is a fitting final chapter to close out a long and expansive career for CANDLEBOX. Then again, music isn’t something that anyone can just retire from, and if the nearly 30 years of KISS being on their farewell tour is any indication, who knows what the future will actually hold.


01 – Punks
02 – What Do You Need (feat. Mona)
03 – Elegante
04 – I Should Be Happy
05 – Nails On A Chalkboard
06 – Ugly
07 – Maze
08 – Cellphone Jesus
09 – Foxy
10 – Hourglass

Kevin Martin – Lead vocals
Brian Quinn – Guitar
Island Styles – Guitar
Adam Kury – Bass
BJ Kerwin – Drums



You may also like...

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.