When signing with a major label, bands tend to have a bright outlook for their futures. However, sometimes things can stall — like the release of your debut album. For the five-piece band Roman Candle, they took this as an opportunity to go back to their old stuff and rework it, trying to perfect it even more.
Roman Candle released its debut album Says Pop in 2002 to much notice from the musical community, even being invited by the Wallflowers to play some shows with them. With its newest album The Wee Hours Revue, RC along with their producer Chris Stamey have done an “aggressive remixing” to the songs from Says Pop, which you can better think of the tinkering as an extreme makeover, but for someone who was pretty damn good-looking to begin with.
The opening track, “Something Left To Say”, does a pretty good job setting up the mood for the album. The song is very upbeat and includes a nice country folk melody. Neil Young and Johnny Cash are among the band’s most notable influences, but there are some contemporary influences that are noticeable throughout like Guster (“You Don’t Belong To This World”) and The Smashing Pumpkins (“Sookie”). Even the legendary Rolling Stones make their way into lead singer Skip Matheny’s stylings and vocals with the surprisingly soulful “I Can’t Even Recall.”
The range of The Wee Hours Revue is amazingly diverse and broad. There is “New York This Morning” which could almost be mistaken for a cappella, “Merciful Man” which traverses the fine line between ballad and non-ballad, and “Winterlight” which embodies a rare carefree attitude not typically found in such a young band.
It’s refreshing to listen to Skip’s carefree vocals because it isn’t until many singers are well-established that they can unburden themselves with trying to be successful. In “Help Me If You Can,” you can almost picture a drunk Skip singing at three in the morning because he’s at that calm moment between sobriety and insobriety. Nothing bothers him, and he’s the happiest man on the street.