Ian McCulloch's first solo LP represents his most accomplished work since the 1984 Echo and the Bunnymen masterpiece Ocean Rain; haunted by the recent deaths of the singer's father as well as Bunnymen drummer Pete DeFreitas, Candleland is a poignant yet ultimately triumphant album which probes not only themes of loss but also rebirth. Atmospherically produced by Ray Shulman, tracks like "The Flickering Wall" and "Proud to Fall" tread familiar musical territory, yet are delivered with a renewed sense of purpose; McCulloch's expressive vocals and impassioned lyrics recall past glories, but also tap newfound reserves of maturity and introspection. Equally compelling are the record's more unexpected departures, which include the waltz-like "I Know You Well," the New Order-esque "Faith and Healing," and the glistening title track, a fairytale music box with backing vocals courtesy of the Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser. A stunning and unexpected return to form.
AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny