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    Roman Candle:

    The Wee Hours Revue

    Fri, 07 Jul 2006 11:01:01

    Album Reviews: The Wee Hours Revue by Roman Candle

    Roman Candle have been stuck in label limbo for a number of years, and a sympathetic new home, V2, has encouraged them to cleanse their palette and retouch their debut before moving forward. The Wee Hours Revue grants the band a mulligan, and they put it to good use. While previously declared an alt-country group, Roman Candle now sound like a band more interested in bringing you the sort of earnest and old-fashioned rock 'n' roll that quickly lodges in your head without ever overwhelming it. The Wee Hours Revue brings you back to a time when people could smoke in bars, even though Roman Candle sound like a band that's ready to leave the hazy, humble bars behind and start playing mid-afternoon sets at summer festivals.

    The Wee Hours Revue is written with that scope, and frontman Skip Matheny is up to the challenge, singing with the panache of a twanged-up Mick Jagger. There are also some echoes of Train's Patrick Monahan, which isn't quite the catastrophe that it may seem; Matheny is a much better lyricist and has the comfort of a much more interesting band. They start out with a fire in their belly; opener "Something Left to Say" is a propulsive barroom rocker about homecoming ("It's hard to fit a lot of years in a Friday night"). Again, it's a summertime record through and through; summer shows up to rattle the ceiling fans in the opener, and it makes another more obvious appearance in the heartsick "Another Summer," a good-time rocker with some heavy undertones.

    Occasionally Roman Candle forget to rely on anything other than a poppy hook ("You Don't Belong To This World"), which results into some stumbles into adult contemporary cubicle-rock. But then they also pull some risky change-ups that pay off, like the wistful electro-piano pop (and seasonal shift) of "Winterlight." Now that they've made peace with their past, hopefully they will feel free to continue this expansion. -- Adam McKibbin, The Red Alert

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