If Nine Black Alps have made anything clear, it's that they're a band with a vision. Seemingly trying to create a point on a Venn diagram where the '90s in the U.S. touch the '90s in the U.K., the band merges the distinct sounds of the two scenes together, fusing the jangly pop of the Stone Roses with the driving grunge of Nirvana. With their fifth album, Candy for the Clowns, the band continue to tinker with the ratios on an album that finds them refining their hybrid sound. Nine Black Alps' vision is most clear on songs like "Something Else," which seems to drift between the two sounds with its snarling verses and flowing choruses, building up angsty energy and then simply letting it go without a big, cathartic finale. The problem with trying to find balance, though, is that you never commit to one thing enough to leave a lasting impact. By trying to stand on both sides of the fence, so to speak, Nine Black Alps aren't quite heavy enough to get the visceral punch of the Seattle greats, and not ethereal enough to evoke the blissful oblivion of their native influences, leaving Candy for the Clowns feeling more like a gentle reminder of the past than a bold reinterpretation. Although this by no means makes the album unpleasant to listen to, it's more likely to have you reaching for some of the classic albums of decades past than giving it a second spin.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney