Heatwave had come a long way from 1977's smash "Boogie Nights" by the time the decade rolled over. They still were masterfully pulling together a smooth blend of soul, funk, and disco, but numerous lineup changes over two years took their toll. At the same time, though, the ease with which they brought a more subtle texture to their music was testament to their enduring dedication. And even through vocalist Johnnie Wilder Jr. was paralyzed in an automobile accident before recording, he was able to return to the band to cut studio vocals for Candles, making this album a joyous occasion. Full of smooth soul breaks and fiery funk riffs packed around a healthy helping of pure disco, Candles does pale somewhat in comparison to earlier singles, but nevertheless remains a strong addition to the genre -- no easy feat for any album appearing after disco's true heyday.
By 1980, most bands had forgotten how important a good groove was in their haste to synthesize anything not nailed down. Heatwave did not.
And that is reflected across this album. From "Gangsters of Groove," which gave the band their hit, to the effusive "Jitterbuggin" and the absolutely marvelous "Turn Around," Heatwave keeps their feet firmly in organic territory. Johnnie Wilder Jr.'s "Goin' Crazy," meanwhile, could still turn in a slab of soft funk. Candles also boasts a staggering five tracks penned by former bandmate Rod Temperton, now carving out a career penning hits for Michael Jackson and Rufus, among others. The partnership he retained with his old crew certainly adds an interesting slant to their overall sound. This is a strong album, better perhaps than its predecessors given its resulting cohesion. The frenzy is gone, to be replaced by a sweet sound -- a different kind of Heatwave, then; one which percolates, rather than hitting you straight on.
|Gangsters of the Groove / Rod Temperton||Heatwave||4:22|
|Jitterbuggin' / Rod Temperton||Heatwave||4:12|
|Party Suite / Rod Temperton||Heatwave||4:55|
|Turn Around / Johnnie Wilder, Jr. / Linda Phillips||Heatwave||4:55|
|Posin' 'Til Closin' / Rod Temperton||Heatwave||5:00|
|All I Am / Lynsey de Paul / Susan Sheridan||Heatwave||3:41|
|Dreamin' You / Rod Temperton||Heatwave||4:00|
|Goin' Crazy / Johnnie Wilder, Jr.||Heatwave||5:51|
|Where Did I Go Wrong / Thomas Gilliard / Johnnie Wilder, Jr. / Linda Phillips||Heatwave||4:21|
|Gangsters of the Groove [Single Version] / Rod Temperton||Heatwave||4:02|
|Jitterbuggin' [UK Single Version] / Rod Temperton||Heatwave||4:00|
|Where Did I Go Wrong [US Single Version] / Thomas Gilliard / Johnnie Wilder, Jr. / Linda Phillips||Heatwave||3:46|
|Posin' 'Til Closin' [UK Single Version] / Rod Temperton||Heatwave||3:40|
|Turn Around [US Single Version] / Johnnie Wilder, Jr. / Linda Phillips||Heatwave||3:59|
|Find Someone Like You [B-Side] / L. Phillips||Heatwave||3:58|
|Wack That Axe [B-Side] / Rod Temperton||Heatwave||3:45|
|Gangsters of the Groove [UK 12" Remix] / Rod Temperton||Heatwave||5:48|
|Posin' 'Til Closin' [UK 12" Version] / Rod Temperton||Heatwave||5:09|