Well, I promised a full review, but everytime I've thought about the album, I was more interested in putting it in and hearing it again than I was in sitting down and writing about it. However, I currently have access to the computer but not the CD player, so here goes....
The production on this, like Dogman, is not the super-clean giant sounds of Sam Taylor. But unlike what Brendan O'Brien did on that last effort, I think the vibe this time around better represents the band. I admit that I need to go back and listen to Dogman some more, but I still rank it as the bands low point, and Ear Candy has not changed that, because it currently pulls ahead of Out Of The Silent Planet and King's X for full-throttle emotional outlet. The title is a lie: this is much more than just ear candy.
NOTE: I later wrote a retraction on the previous paragraph.
I've talked before about the band having a relatively positive outlook, with occasional bits of the darker sides of life. These included the loss in Far, Far Away, the spiritual fakes of Mission, the depression of Talk To You, the hard choices of Legal Kill, or the frustration of Lost In Germany. The doubts of Black Flag, however, are what the band really explores this time out. If I wanted to start a rumor, it would be that this is the last King's X album. Just follow the lyrics of The Train: "Step up and step aboard.... Last time aboard the train that lives inside my world." To quote Wild Silas, "Hmmm?!"
Now, if you're familiar with Ginger Baker in Cream, Blind Faith, or even Masters Of Reality, you'll know what inspires the drum sounds (especially the toms) of What I'm Gonna Do. And if Doug's bass used to rattle with distortion, it has now gone well beyond what you'd expect those four (actually, twelve) strings to sound like! This album throbs and rumbles so much that when he isn't playing in the song, you feel the floor drop out from under you! The lyrics hint at being decieved from the truth, but that's just a warm-up for what's next. Sometime is less subtle about it. Musically, this jams. Lyrically, the brilliance is in the simplicity. Contrasting moods, we get a taste of what Paul says in the Bible about always wanting to do the right thing, but usually doing the other. We're all human, last I checked, and temptation is easy follow. Give or take, run or stay, love or hate, build or break, live or die, believe or get high and fly....
Okay, now that we've set a negative mood, I still don't get what's being said in A Box.
I do, however, know what's being said in Looking For Love. I wonder if these guys have completely lost their faith. I hope not, but I'm not in their shoes (the ones mentioned on Dogman). This really explores the same road as I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For by U2, where Bono admits both his religious beliefs and doubts in the same breath. The chorus is a hook-and-a-half, too. You'll be singing along.
Personal exploration continues on Mississippi Moon: "Yesterday the same, tomorrow never knows / I carry all my life wherever I go."
Let me take a break from lyrical examination and talk about how 67 was the first song on the album to make me jerk my head to attention. I liked the album so far, but this thing grooves heavy as lead! Wham, Bam, let's vent some aggression! How do you make a bass do that? My neck still hurts!
Now we'll lay back and get introspective again. Ty's vocals on Lies In The Sand bring us a very contrasting mood to 67. He's almost crying as he tells us again about the man in Visions that may be a prophet or a madman.
Run reminds me of The Fine Art Of Friendship a little, in that they talk about religion being taught to you as a child and sticking with you for life. It often makes me wonder if I believe what I do because it's real or if it's subconscious breeding that I can't escape. Doubt. Loss of faith. Devotion is easy for a child. We adults need to work harder at it, always wanting the tangible, always looking for proof. Blind faith may be what we need, but you always have the paranoia that you're just gullible.
The story of upbringing affecting faith continues on Fathers.
I wonder if American Cheese is an open letter to Jesus? Of course, I have a biased perspective, but either way this is an emotionally heavy song.
Doug tells us some family history with Picture, once again showing the way family influences faith. The ending of this has the same groove as The Burning Down, showing how well the guys still do an extended jam.
Life Going By sums up the whole album, and so will I: these guys, like all of us, have been through their share of good and bad and come out alive. But do they know what they still believe in? Do I? Do you...?
Next: Naomi's Solar Pumpkin -- Back: Dogman
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