Personnel: Kevin Martin (vocals, guitar, background vocals); Carson Slovak (guitar, percussion, programming, background vocals); Mike Leslie, Brian Quinn (guitar); Dave Krusen (drums); Grant McFarland (background vocals).
Recording information: Think Loud Studios, York, PA.
Editors: Dan Giangiulio; Mark Fiorentino.
The Candlebox of 2016 isn't the Candlebox of 1996, lacking many of its members -- only mainstay lead vocalist Kevin Martin and drummer Dave Krusen remain -- and also most of the grunge signifiers that turned the band into a chart-topper in the glory days of '90s alt-rock. Two decades on, Pearl Jam isn't a touchstone: Matchbox Twenty is, as is Third Eye Blind, two titans of the smoother post-grunge movement that ushered bands like Candlebox out of the charts. Perhaps the Seattle-based quintet, which is now essentially a vehicle for Martin's music, is slightly behind the curve by concentrating on this sound, yet the broader lines, slower tempos, and emphatic pleading suit a band now in middle age: it's adult alternative rock the way they used to do it back in the day. Hooks help, of course. Melodies surge forth from Martin, who receives sympathetic support from a band designed to offer nothing less and nothing more. They're nimble -- they cook up a disco pulse on "Supernova" as easily as they percolate pensive pop -- and if they fail to offer a distinctive spin on Martin's mature musings, the group can nevertheless deliver the material straight down the middle, which is enough to turn Disappearing in Airports into a satisfying AAA album, even if it feels vaguely out of time. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine