Review: Circe Link & the Discount Candy Family Band- California Kid
One day last week I stopped at the mailbox on the way up the driveway. Bills, junk mail, a CD, nothing out of the ordinary. I left the CD in the car and planned to listen to it on the next morning’s drive. Then if it’s deemed “good enough,” I’ll take it inside and give it a serious listen on the stereo and, if it’s really good possibly write a review here. If it’s not “good enough,” it will be shelved and probably not listened to again.
The album in question was California Kid by L.A. songstress Circe Link and her new roots rock ensemble The Discount Candy Family Band and while I definitely found it to be “good enough” (and beyond), it is yet to leave the car. It’s just the sort of album that should be listened to on a rural highway in the pre-noon hours: energetic, rootsy, rocking, and most importantly fun.
There’s really nothing new here, but that’s nothing to complain about on a disc where manyof the best elements of the past are mixed together brilliantly to create a unique neo-hippie sound that is both familiar and fresh. On this album Link was clearly influenced by such iconic sources as The Band, Leon Russell, CCR, the Byrds, The White Album, Tom Petty, the Beach Boys, the Stones, and Canned Heat as well as more modern artists such as Sheryl Crow as well as the singer’s decidedly Californian world view.
Things get off to an excellent start as “Salvation” combines honky-tonk piano, distorted guitars, a positive message, and a Morissette-esque vocal, followed by the gentle country rocker “Random Acts of Kindness” and the self-explanatory psychedelic soul pop of “Getting High (On Your Own Supply).”
“Home Isn’t Home without You” wasn’t one of my favorite tracks on the album, but she redeems herself with “Taking it Light,” the best here lyrically and one that reminded me a lot of Tom Petty (although that could just be the repeated use of the phrase “learning to fly.”) Next is the title track, a great acoustic rocker with honest lyrics about the nature of L.A. life.
The Southern rock-flavored “What Goes Around” displays the band at their best and plays to Link’s strengths as a vocalist and “Little Hobo,” although handled a little too slow, has excellent lyrics, but the album’s real highlight is the uptempo hippie rocker “Shangriladeeda Farm,” about a place that’s “rough around the edges, but so am I.”
“Tiger Swami” is another great rocker that again showcases the band at their best, although their real time to shine comes on the album-closing “Traffic Jam,” an optimistic uptempo hard rock track with plenty of organ, a Hendrix-inspired guitar, and Circe Link’s ability to craft a great melody.
Ultimately, this album is wonderful as a pure rock record with some nice roots elements strung throughout. This is, in a way, the perfect summer album and one that deserves to be listened to while flying over back roads. I would highly recommend this album as one of the year’s best.