Kerry Candaele

Gas Money

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Rife with pointed social criticism and solid singer/songwriter hooks, the debut of Kerry Candaele shows him a willing martyr for an apathetic society. Where his songwriting is generally strong, the rather pedestrian mix of guitars, pianos, accordions, and drums doesn't detract from the strength of the material, but ultimately does little to make the album memorable for more than its words. With a nicely weathered voice, Candaele does portray a certain resolved determination that never seems falsely sympathetic. Even so, he can occasionally come across as overly pessimistic or preachy in tracks like "Slow Burning" and "Sorrow Words," where he dramatically decries the inequities in modern American society. When he tries to lighten the mood, as in the Springsteen-esque "Music I Could Rock To," it comes across as forced and overly simplistic. All in all, Candaele possesses substantial lyrical gifts. Wrapping them in a more attractive package would help, but his songs are strong enough that it's certainly not necessary for exacting enjoyment from this set.

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