Love Songs & Other Musings is Candlebox’s fifth studio album, and their second album since reforming in 2006 (not counting the live CD/DVD Alive in Seattle). The current lineup features original members Kevin Martin (lead guitar and vocals), Peter Klett (guitar) and Scott Mercado (drums) as well as Sean Hennesy (guitar) and Adam Kury (bass); former drummer Dave Krusen also appears on the album.

Candlebox is in full “pop metal mode” here, as evidenced by the lead-off single, “Believe In It,” with an opening riff inspired, as Klett acknowledges, by Black Sabbath, but with a hint of a pop sheen that made Martin think of the Jackson 5 when he began working on the song from Klett’s riff. The giddy “Sweet Summertime” is a tailor-made driving song, perfect for blasting down the highways into the warm sun, while on “Youth in Revolt,” the opening track, Martin seems determined to tear his throat to pieces. The uptempo numbers are generally the stronger ones, though overall the band seems to rely on the crushing power of a loud chorus to make their anthemic statements, and it tends to make the music generic.

Along with the nine new tracks, the album also has five re-recordings of earlier Candlebox songs: “Far Behind,” “You,” “Cover Me” (from the band’s self-titled debut album), and “Change” and “Simple Lessons” (from Lucy). It’s a curious exercise. The new versions don’t sound terribly different from the originals; they’re a bit more forceful, like hearing a band play a studio track live, though the earlier versions have a more organic, less processed feel. But Candlebox fans would probably have preferred to get new music from the group.

Note: Bonus tracks are available on the Amazon (“Out Here All Night”) and iTunes (“No Lights”) editions of the album.

Label: Audionest — CD format and MP3 download can be ordered by clicking here.