The Candles - Between the Sounds Review
Posted by MP Schroeder on 04.13.2010
Josh Lattanzi’s first solo effort is a relaxed, uncomplicated tour de force.
Josh Lattanzi is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in New York; he has worked with the likes of Ben Kweller, The Strokes’ Albert Hammond, Jr., and The Lemonheads, to name just a few. The Candles is the name of Josh Lattanzi’s solo vehicle and is formed by himself, Jason Roberts, Matt Pynn, Alex Levy and Pete Caldes. The songs for the band’s debut were conceived in Lattanzi’s apartment in New York, where they were written and recorded as demos. It was in Celeste, Texas where the bulk of the studio work was done in John Kent’s (Lattanzi’s Ben-Kweller-band friend) studio before finishing the album back in New York. The album marks the debut of Josh Lattanzi as a solo artist, and serves as a display of the New York native’s nothing-short-of-extraordinary talent.
A sonic escape
“There’s really nothing there other than some boarded up old shops, one convenience store and a great recording studio,” says Lattanzi about Celeste, Texas, where the recording of Between the Sounds was made. That environment found its way into the music: images of empty, dusty narrow streets bathed in afternoon sunlight come to mind when listening to Between the Sounds. The tranquility and comfort that the music exudes is reminiscent of the Grateful Dead’s American Beauty and Neil Young’s most acoustic moments. The instrumentation of guitar, bass, drums, steel guitar and mellotron is used in an uncomplicated way that lets Lattanzi’s strong lyricism shine. This is music to close your eyes and go someplace else, someplace quiet and desolated, yet where close friends are around, glad to be enjoying life.
Good songs go a long way
If it weren’t for Lattanzi’s solid songwriting, Between the Sounds wouldn’t be such an effective experience. The album boasts endearing moments of reflection (“Let Me Down Easy”, “Who We Are”), love (“On My Side”) and homesickness (“Between the Sounds”), among other down-to-earth motifs every listener can relate to. Lattanzi sings his songs in a soothing voice that will help anyone having a tough day get through it; the songs’ arrangements range from country-tinged rockers to pop nuggets that can have both radio rotation and a spot in a demanding listener’s playlist. This is where Between the Sounds’ magic lies: it all sounds so organic and honest that ears adapt to it, not the other way around; there are no wannabe singles or adventurous experiments, just ten well written, well performed and recorded songs.
The good, the bad and the highlights:
The good is that all ten songs on Between the Sounds are winners. Every song on the album is a different moment, a different state of mind that is brought to being thanks to strong lyricism and an organic musical accompaniment that both inspires and sooths. There are very noticeable Grateful Dead and Neil Young influences, with a slight dash of Dinosaur Jr. and Rolling Stones-styled folk flourishes.
There is nothing to dislike about this album.
The highlights are all ten songs on the album, but among the best are:
Let Me Down Easy
An excellent song about enjoying life while it’s there; the steel guitar and piano turn it into something almost magical.
A mellotron-enhanced slow rocker capable of holding its own against the best the ‘70s has to offer in the same department.
On My Side
A wonderful love song that spews tear-jerking melody on all turns; the steel guitar work on this one steals the show.
Intimate and electrifying
Here are The Candles performing live:
Get this one as soon as you can
Between the Sounds is easily one of the best albums 2010 has to offer. What makes it so good is that it sounds honest, that it comes from a corner in Josh Lattanzi’s heart that is reserved only for his closest friends and relatives; the music is virtuous in the sense that it is done appropriately to fit such sincere sentiments in an uncomplicated way. There is never a dull moment throughout the album’s running time. Between the Sounds not only serves as an outstanding debut for Josh Lattanzi, but it also establishes him as a brilliant songwriter that should take more time off from his stints with other artists and bands to concentrate more on developing his undeniable talent. I highly recommend you seek this album out and listen to it as many times as possible. It’s that good.
The 411: This is a perfect album in every sense of the word. Ten songs, no dull moments, memorable melodies, moving lyrics… I couldn’t ask for more. Josh Lattanzi’s debut album is a winner and you should thank him for putting it out. Go get it.