When the Candidates burst onto the local rock scene in the late 90s, I was on board from the get-go. The Candidates were one of the “Record Store Bands” I wrote about in Record Store Tales Part 40. They were the product of a former band, The Mighty Fisherman, who put out an actual CD album. Members of that band formed the Candidates – great guys who made great music. I don’t use the word “great” lightly. All four songs on their debut EP (never released to the public) are as good as anything on a major label at the time. When the guys recorded this EP, they loaned it out to various friends, and so I made my own copy. (My own liner notes, too!)
I always felt the Candidates had a sound not unlike Sloan, The Who, and the Jam rolled into one. (Maybe even a hint of Kiss; check out the slow-down ending to “Cash Money”.) The point is: they rocked. It was rock and roll, nothing but. No ballads, no fluff, no solos. Great lyrics, solid riffs and rolling bass lines out the wazoo. The whole thing is over n’ out in under 12 minutes.
First up, “You’re All Heart”, the song with the most pop in its melody, and a little twang in the six-strings. The handclaps are a nice touch, as are the rolling thunder drum fills. Tambourine is thrown in for good measure on “Good to Go”, a song defined by its catchy bassline. I always liked the line, “There’s nothin’ on the walls, and woo! There’s nothing on…” The beat just kills. “So leave your boyfriend at home, and come hit the town with me.” It’s the kind of tune that, in our early 20s, was a bit of an anthem. More handclaps!
Things start to slam heavier on “Cash Money”; a banger of a riff. “Got my good-to-go boots and I’m gone.” They don’t come any more rock and roll than “Cash Money”. Although, as a younger man, I identified most with “Barely Bruised”. It seems I was constantly having bad luck with the ladies. I really liked the lines, “I’ve been beaten but I’m barely bruised, I’m lost but I cannot lose.” I liked the idea of being knocked down and getting back up for more, never giving up. The band dedicated this one to me in concert one time, and I’ll tell ya, it made my night. The song itself is a battery of broadsides, so put your dukes up.
Since this EP was never sold, and you’ll never hear it, reviewing it is rather strange and maybe pointless. Eventually, somebody somewhere will google this band, and smile when they read these words. I just had to tell you about these guys.
Have a look at my humorous liner notes. I also stole a setlist from an unknown gig!