The Gracious Few
The Gracious Few
Release Date: September 14, 2010
Record Label: Questionable Entertainment
Wow. That’s all I could manage to utter as the first track from The Gracious Few’s self-titled album started blaring though my speakers. The supergroup, comprised of members of Candlebox and Live, has amassed an impressive collection of heavy brooding groove-laden tunes. This is not Live 2.0, or another flavor of Candlebox; the project has taken on a life and personality of its own. The Gracious Few is easily one of my top three favorite albums of 2010.
The opening track, “Appetite,” has a killer riff with Zeppelin-esque grandeur. Again, wow. The band’s chemistry is blazing hot, and it’s a great track for Kevin Martin to stretch-out his vocal prowess. Unrelenting, the band continues unleashing its aural arsenal on the second track “Honest Man,” another heavy track with a powerful chorus. “Nothing But Love” is every cover/tribute band’s worst nightmare because Martin doesn’t even sound like he’s breaking a sweat while hitting that upper register. With such power, his vocals blow through the stratosphere.
While this project is not meant to be an extension of the members’ previous work, there are a few moments of undeniable similarity. It would be unfair to expect the band to wipe away twenty years of experience while writing songs for this album. “Crying Time” reminds me of some of the melancholy mid-90’s music that Candlebox produced, while the following track “Silly Thing” has a lively rhythmic groove very much like something from Mental Jewelry.
One of the coolest things about this album is the journey the listener is invited to take. It sounds like the entire band had a blast exploring sounds and styles they may not have been able to lay down in a studio previously. “Guilty Fever” is reminiscent of sex-infused 1970’s hard rock, while “What’s Wrong” is a slower song that probably has more in common with The Black Crows than anything from Candlebox or Live. The biggest surprise comes at the end of the album. When “Sing” started playing I thought to myself “holy shit, the changes never stop.” The song is played in a reggae rock style combined with a strong pop-rock chorus and blazing guitars. It’s unlike anything else on the album. Then they close the album with “All I Hear” which infuses some punk into the reggae-rock theme.
There is so much chemistry between these guys that is would be a huge disappointment if this is a one-off effort. I watched an interview with Chad Taylor in which he described a moment just prior to recording when he thought “Why the fuck did I start another rock n’ roll band?” After hearing this album, you’ll be thinking “why the fuck didn’t he do it sooner?” This is one supergroup that I sincerely hope is not short-lived.
- “Honest Man”
- “Guilty Fever”
- “The Few”
- “The Rest of You”
- “Crying Time”
- “Silly Thing”
- “What’s Wrong”
- “Nothing But Love”
- “All I Hear” (untitled track)