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Solo, somber Mac
Peter Charbonneau | Boston, MA United States | 05/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded after the death of two constants in his life, his father and Echo & the Bunnymen (thankfully, not a permanent breakup), Ian McCulloch's first solo offering, "Candleland" is a soul-searching album about loss, reflection and ultimately, hope.Mac has always had a gift for writing some hard to decipher lyrics, but he's probably at his most direct on this album. He's always had a great ear for melody as well, and the 10 tracks on here ooze with atmosphere. I think the standout numbers on here are "Proud to Fall" (the 1st single lifted), "Horse's Head", "White Hotel", the title track, featuring Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins, and the minimalist closer, "Start Again", which in many ways sums up the entire album... hopeful, but not quite sure when or where that hope is coming from. "Start Again" was actually originally attempted as an Echo song that was more mid-tempo, but here it is stripped bare, sung over an acoustic guitar and some strings, and it works very well.Those expecting Mac's famously over-the-wall vocals from earlier Echo albums won't find them here. His strong voice drips like honey in many spots, but it is much more restrained, given the subject matter. This is a record to play when you have some quiet time to yourself. You can immerse yourself in it pretty easily. In my opinion, it doesn't equal the brilliance of Echo & the Bunnymen, but it is a very good album. The latest Echo album "Flowers" and his new solo effort, "Slideling", proves that Mac hasn't lost his touch. "Candleland" moved me when I first bought it in 1990. It still has that effect today.(as a side note to any Cure fans, Boris Williams guests on the drums on a few tracks as well.)"
Introspective Ian. Beautiful, melancholy, and dark.
Peter Charbonneau | 03/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a stellar release, that still holds up bigtime contentwise, in 2004. When this first came out, this was considered a masterpiece by Echo fans, given it's lush, layered sound, and deep sad overtones. I can still see why. Musically, the songwriting is top notch and reeks quality, with some great hooks and melodies. This, to me, is one of the definitive overlooked releases of the late 1980's. Very unique music bordering on masterpiece. This is a must for every alternative 80's collection!"