26012-4 Candleland
Produced by Ray Shulman
Released on September 1989
UK CHART POSITION #18 . . . US CHART POSITION #179
Find it at GEMM
26012-4 cover  

I paid one dollar for a used tape of this at Amoeba; someone should have stopped me at the door for theft. The last Echo & The Bunnymen elpee was technically accomplished but the melodies were again a little listless, and I was left wondering if Ocean Rain was simply a beautiful anomaly. Candleland isn’t a return to Ocean Rain’s hushed grandeur (what’s the slime factor on “hushed grandeur” anyway?), but it does spill over with effervescence and, gulp, honest-to-goodness melody. If you thought Reverberation was a minor revelation (and I actually did), get thee to Candleland in a hurry. The Robert Smith pose on the cover gives you some insight into Ian McCulloch’s modus operandi; this music could be seen as Bono fronting The Cure (or Robert Smith fronting U2 I suppose, although that’s a disturbing picture). Even at its best, Echo’s music was standoffish, but Ian inches closer to us with wonderful tracks like “Faith And Healing,” “The Flickering Wall,” “The White Hotel,” “Proud To Fall.” Actually, the whole thing is great. Far from a wilting over commercial acceptance, Candleland stands resolute in its task, chronicling the feelings of the artist in the wake of Echo’s demise and the loss of his father. Songs like “Candleland” and “Start Again” are sad and deep and soft and pretty, elegiac bookends in a quiet study. Yet it’s the musicality of it all that wins the day; if you thought “All My Life” was to die for, Candleland is calling you. For the benefit of the one grumpy prog fan harumphing through this (Echo and the bunnywhat?), Candleland’s producer is Gentle Giant’s Ray Shulman. Ray also handles bass, keyboards and programming (all ably of course), Ian plays guitar (very well in fact), and guests like Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Frazer pop in. The sheer force of Ocean Rain dampened the band’s achievement afterward (in my mind anyway), but Candleland at least restored my faith in Ian.

26012-4 back sleeve
26012-4 back sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. THE FLICKERING WALL
  2. THE WHITE HOTEL
  3. PROUD TO FALL
  4. THE CAPE
  5. CANDLELAND
  6. HORSE'S HEAD
  7. FAITH AND HEALING
  8. I KNOW YOU WELL
  9. IN BLOOM
  10. START AGAIN

    All songs written by Ian McCulloch

CREDITS

IAN McCULLOCH -- vocals and guitars
RAY SHULMAN -- bass, keyboards and programming
Elizabeth Frazer -- backing vocals (5)
Michael Jobson -- bass (1,2)
Billy McGee -- string arrangement (6)
Henry Priestman -- string arrangement (8)
Olle Romo -- programming (6,10)
Boris Williams -- drums (2,3)
Dave Bascombe -- remix (5)
Gary Bradshaw -- engineer
Gerard Johnson -- engineer
Ryan Art -- design
Andrew Catlin -- photography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK/CAN September 1989 WEA LP/CD/CS 246225 lyric sleeve
UK/GER 1989 WEA LP WX303 lyric sleeve
US September 1989 Sire LP/CD/CS 26012 lyric sleeve
JPN 1989 WEA CD WPCR-10233  

 

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