Candida Pax


(CD - Shadoks Music #SHADOKS 015)

Review by

The new wave of 21st century exhumations of utterly obscure psychedelic/post-psych efforts in the late '60s and early '70s is at once noble and almost quixotic -- some bands that have one OK cut featured on a compilation ultimately only deserved that much attention. British quartet Candida Pax's one album, Day, is a perfect example of this -- reissued by Shadoks some 25 years after its first appearance, it's a pleasant album that certainly is no utterly lost masterpiece. It is enjoyable, though, and if nothing else has a story behind it that is more unique than some: according to a reproduction of a small newspaper piece in the liner notes, the roots of the northern English group were in a variety of spiritual and gospel bands. This influence carries over clearly into the lyrical images, providing a different spin on the Jesus rock of the period from characters like Norman Greenbaum, say. When singers Colin Stott and Stuart Mellor sing lines like "Jesus help me," it's more than simply rote imagery. That said, musically the bandmembers are competent players with a bit of flash and are ultimately more successful as a unit than individually -- nobody stands out in particular but everyone comes together to create some OK work. The opening title track establishes the sound of the rest of the album well enough -- polite blues explorations in a post-Clapton/Peter Green sense, gently sung vocals instead of rasping passion, a sense of reverb and hush that could almost derive from mid-'60s Yardbirds. From there, Day steers between steady-as-she-goes songs ("Don't Leave Me," "Darkness") and gentle curveballs like "White Dove," the sole track written by all members, which thanks to the addition of recorder becomes a gentle pastoral ramble, and the secret winner "My Life," the most overtly gospel-styled number and perhaps the most beautiful as a result. One nice touch from the original liner notes: "The studio version of these songs is not the live stage version…."

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
blue highlight denotes track pick