Led by journeyman songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Josh Lattanzi, the Candles have an easy way with rustic, tuneful rock that drifts effortlessly between jangly Americana and early-'70s singer/songwriter fare. While the New York band's first two efforts were rife with power pop leanings and dusty road twang, 2016's Matter + Spirit is a more organic set, often eschewing electricity in favor of woody acoustic tones, pianos, and laid-back vocals. Although their occasional stabs at revivalist indie folk ("Back to the City") and country-flavored shuffles ("You Won't Remember Me") are fine, they're at their best letting Lattanzi's well-honed songwriting chops dictate less overt directions, as on a spacious road meditation like the harmonically rich "Blue Skies and Sun" and the dreamy highlight "Sunburned." When not working on their own material, the Candles often double as Norah Jones' touring band and she returns the favor here with a guest duet on the sweet and mellow "Move Along." It's another solid release from this veteran crew who value subtlety and honest craftsmanship above all else.
Matter + Spirit Review
by Timothy Monger