The Candle Thieves “All’s Well That Ends Well”
Peterborough, England’s The Candle Thieves have struck again. Two unassuming guys, lead vocalist Scott McEwan and a dude simply named “The Glock” burst forth with a very glossy brand of heartfelt, optimistic pop. The opening song “Tomorrow Is Another Day” is a full on mix of Beach Boys/Carpenters layered harmonies with a melody as sweet as buttered toast. “Ocean of Storms” is a more standard pop approach with synths and soft falsetto. “Sugarcandy Mountain” is another bouncy gem of a love song, and “Keys To My World” is a measured ballad that almost turns to syrup. Vocally, the duo kind of reminds me of an English version of The Rembrandts.
But without a wasted track, it successfully navigates through an early confidence builder “The Little Engine That Could” to the rousing “Don’t Grow Up Too Soon.” The concept of holding on to childhood so tightly it drives romance away is artfully done and with the inspiring ending “Honey I’m Home,” it brings the listener back from the sugar rush. No filler here and even though I almost missed it, I’m happy to add it to my year end “best of” list.
Parthenon Huxley “Thank You Bethesda”
Parthenon Huxley or P.Hux as he’s called, is a veteran power pop artist I’ve known for a long time. Earlier this year he produced a new album and one of my fellow readers recommended a review. A new found energy is on the title track, a busy mix of Lou Reed-ish vocal phrasing and bass lines. In fact, Reed’s influence is all over this album. An early highlight is the catchy rocker “Angeleno,” about the search for fame and fortune in L.A.
He moves from from the slow soulful “Luckiest Man” to the smooth pop of “Long Way To Go.” His Beatlesque side comes out on “Roller Coaster” and “A Feeling That Won’t Fade Away.” The tonal shifts almost feel like you’re listening to a singles compilation album, it doesn’t stick to a single mood, but the overall theme is gratitude. This is a terrific album brimming with excellent guitar work and joyous melody. My last “top ten” recommendation of 2013.