If Mike Viola's voice sounds familiar, it's because he supplied many of the lead vocals for the Wonders on the soundtrack to That Thing You Do. Given his penchant for writing perfect pop songs, the role was obviously no stretch. On the five tracks that comprise Live at La Bonbonniere, the Candy Butchers employ hook-laden melodies and Viola's raspy vocals to wonderful results. "California Girl" is a breezy, laid-back ballad about a surfer girl, while the similarly sunny sounds of "Till You Die" downplay its markedly darker lyrics. "Bells on a Leper" and "Cupid Complained to Venus" are excellent tracks that were slated to be included on the Candy Butchers' debut album, which unfortunately was scrapped before its release. All five tracks here are keepers, making it all the more a shame that listeners had wait until 1999 to again hear from the band.
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AllMusic Review by Michael Frey