Let's be frank: During Candlebox's original run in the Nineties, the Seattle quartet was absolutely hammered by critics and some music fans for being grunge lite. The main accusation: The group had co-opted the riffs, moods, and flannel — yet excised most of the nihilism and self-hatred — of that era on its way up the charts. But for many others, particularly those outside Seattle, Candlebox was simply a good, radio-friendly rock band with catchy hooks and little emotional baggage. Thus its self-titled 1993 debut (the first rock release on Madonna's Maverick Records) ended up going platinum four times and spawning the huge hits "You" and "Far Behind."
Subsequent albums sold comparatively poorly, and although singer Kevin Martin and guitarist Peter Klett remained, the rest of the lineup changed a few times (at one point, original Pearl Jam drummer Dave Krusen occupied the stool). The band finally called it quits not long after 1998's Happy Pills. But time heals all wounds, and Martin and Klett got the band back together in 2006 and recorded a new album, Into the Sun, which came out last month. It unabashedly reaches back to Candlebox's early glory days, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It ain't Nirvana, but then again, it ain't Puddle of Mudd either.