Picks and Pans Review: Candy from a Stranger
With their 1993 pop anthem "Runaway Train," this Minneapolis quartet made a neat pirouette from punk noisemakers to melodic tunesmiths. Of course, even as lead singer Dave Pirner walked down Hollywood's red carpets with his now-ex-girlfriend Winona Ryder, he remained loyal to his look: rat's-nest hair and tattered denims. Now, three years after his group's last, much lauded album, Let Your Dim Light Shine, Pirner is back, his appearance intact but the move away from loud, thrashing, anarchistic punk now complete. A sampler of invigorating power-pop anthems, jangly, falling-in-and-out-of-love songs and edgy ballads, Candy finds Pirner (backed by guitarist Dan Murphy, bassist Karl Mueller and drummer Sterling Campbell) at his pop music best. The 34-year-old rocker sounds, in turn, optimistic, melancholy and inspired, and on one of many standout tunes, "Close," even turns a trifling pun into a lovely lyric.
Bottom Line: Former punk-rock rebels find harmony