Sound — 8
Singer-songwriter Candye Kane take 50s rock into the new millennium making vintage rock a trend for the present. Kane's music is pistoled by boogie-encrusted hops liken to Chuck Berry flanked by bebop grooves resembling The Ronettes, and bordered in prairieland-infused blues reminiscent of Dwight Yoakum. The group's latest release Superhero gives vintage rock a refreshment course in arousing the public's craving for fun. Buoyed by Kane's vocals, guitarist Laura Chavez fires up the furnaces in the group's remake of Led Zeppelin's You Need Love as bassist Paul Loranger and Kane's son Evan on drums plugs the track in a smoky blues rock socket. The group's remake of Zepp's classic tune has a more gritty texture than the original, with an attractive country-blues intonation that awakens the gentleness in the track's melodic flow. The group has their moments of pouring on the smooth jazz sauces in numbers like Who's Been Sleeping In My Bed and Don't Cry For Me New Jersey, complimented by the easy going spiritual of I'm Gonna Be Just Fine sung a capella by Kane in a lush gospel-hued register. The boogie rock jumps of Hey! Toughen Up! and I didn't Listen To my Heart are cued in a series of bubbly propulsions that recall of Chuck Berry's energetic hops, and the soft bluesy-ambient twang in the guitar cuts bottling I Put A Hex On You have a rich western swing flange. The track displays Kane's versatility as a singer, demonstrating the vocal brawn of Janis Joplin and the luminous shine of Nina Simone. The group incorporates several slices of Americana into the tracks embossed in jazz-toned piano keys like in Ik Hou Von Je equipped with a nursery rhyme schematics and scat shuffling, and the bebop harmonies of I Like Em Stacked Like That illuminate the cooling effect that Kane's vocals have on the listener's senses. The dashing horns of the title track jackknife the boogie rock pivots in the rhythmic grooves, producing a party-pop vibe, while the bluesy rock crests that surface along You Can't Stop Me From Lovin' You inject calming ripples working into a relaxing stride.
Lyrics — 8
Candye Kane's lyrics gravitate to taking a negative situation and making it positive like in I Put A Hex On You as Kane enforces, I put a hex on you / You better watch your back Your luck is changing / You don't know what to do / You know you had it coming / I put a hex on you. Some verses reflect on defeat while trying to keep one's chin up like in Don't Cry For Me New Jersey as Kane implores, Don't cry for me New Jersey / No tears down in Paramus / No tears on the Palisades / Gave my all, my everything / Sent my heart wrapped up in string / Love is one bad evil two way street / Seemed it all was built to last / But I know it's sinking fast / Here is where my hope and sorrow meet. Another recurring theme in the tracks is expressing an indestructible resilience like in the title track as Kane purports, I'm a superhero I won't ever need a gun / My big heart is my secret weapon / You can always count on me, or like in You Can't Stop me From Lovin' You as Kane admits, This love of mine still seems to shine / You can't stop me from loving you I gave you my heart and I meant it / I gave you my love and it's true / I don't care if you want me, I'm yours / You can't stop me from loving you. No matter where the lyrics go, they always mean to rise above the hurt and frustration.
Overall Impression — 8
Superhero is probably not for everyone, though there are a few tracks that have a wide universal appeal like I Put A Hex On You and You Need Love. As retro as the music sounds, often going back to the bebop/sock hop grooves of the 50s, Candye Kane has a modern pop veneer that transcends sounding dated. Superhero is an album that stimulates the fun hormones, and that alone makes it ripe for any decade.