After the disappointing showing of Candlebox's last release, 1995's schizophrenic Lucy, the band has returned with a more straight-ahead album, Happy Pills, which is more similar in approach to their mega-hit 1993 self-titled debut. Veteran heavy rock producer Ron Nevison (the Who, Ozzy Osbourne, etc.) was placed in charge of the album, giving the tunes a slightly more conventional, classic-rock edge. Another important factor in the band's back-to-basics approach was ex-Pearl Jam drummer Dave Krusen replacing original member Scott Mercado before recording sessions began. And like the debut, the tunes are split between three categories, bluesy Led Zeppelin-sounding ditties ("Look What You've Done"), heartbroken ballads ("It's Alright"), and melodic hard rock (the title track, "10,000 Horses," etc.). Longtime fans of the band will undoubtedly enjoy the album, but don't expect to be converted if you looked down upon the band's mysteriously familiar-sounding music in the past.
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato