Love Stories & Other Musings

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Presumably, the "other musings" mentioned in the title of Candlebox's fifth album allude to the five covers of their big '90s hits tacked onto the end of Love Stories & Other Musings. These new versions of "Far Behind" and "You" and a handful of others are faithful retreads of the original recordings but the band sounds a little bored trying to color within the lines, although the rest of Love Stories is a true surprise: Candlebox sound loose, limber, lively for the first time on record, breaking free from the brooding grind that's been their stock in trade since the start. Guitars sparkle, rhythms are elastic, the hooks aren't pushed; they breathe and Love Stories benefits tremendously from this open air. Candlebox still sound like veterans of the '90s but they're not beholden to grunge: they now favor the melodicism of post-grunge and bear the lightness and nimble chops that come with middle age, a combination that unexpectedly produces their best, richest album to date.

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