Turn Out the Flame, the debut release from Hard Candy, has some good material but also quite a few weak points. In the opening tune "401(k)," for example, the vocals are barely audible because of the high-bend riffs from the guitarist. The next tune, "No Kmetko," shows that the album does have some better material; the band is tighter and the vocals are channeled from left to right, which gives the tune a crisp sound. On "Smalltown Bike," Hard Candy attempts to add some vocal harmony, but it comes out as two-part catastrophe; the musical arrangement does work well if you cancel the vocals. One of the finer songs is "Jazzercide," on which the entire band is in sync and the vocals are of a higher quality, even if it runs way too short. "Flags Half Mast" comes off as an early Rolling Stones tune, a bit rough around the edges but certainly showing some promise. On "At Least In Jail...," Hard Candy has some great production, adding slide guitar on a bluesy number, which proves to be divine; the audacious lyrics only fan the fire on this sizzler. Overall, the songs are either very good or bad, never mediocre, but there are certainly enjoyable tunes on Turn Out the Flame, which could interest anyone looking for something different.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Larry Belanger