Tripping out of the darkness and into the light, Bobby and the Crew’s “Let the Candle Burn” begins with a sultry sax introduction that, despite lasting a mere matter of seconds is more than enough to get us on the edge of our seats for the duration of this simple pop song. The tempo is disciplined and the play is a little hazy, but there’s something experimental about the way these two elements are encountering each other in the opening bars of this track. Bobby and the Crew are developing a reputation for detail, and in a song like this one, I can appreciate why their sound has been getting the sort of attention from fans and critics in the media alike for the better part of 2022 and 2023.
From a lyrical standpoint, fragility is the first word that comes to mind when I’m listening to “Let the Candle Burn.” There’s a desperation to the chorus that makes me feel like this is a personal track, growing out of either tragedy or the very notion of isolation as we’ve known it outside of post-punk culture, neither of which can be traced to self-righteousness. Unlike so many of the ballads I’ve listened to in 2023, there’s nothing specifically slow or romanticized about this performance – it feels balladic because of its tonal presence, and the way its lyrical content takes on a deeper meaning simply by how it’s being presented to us in the song.
The chorus is when everything truly starts to come together in this single, but I wouldn’t say “Let the Candle Burn” is exclusively driven by the massive hook this juncture of the track offers. There’s a culmination of emotion that suddenly comes undone as we fall upon this moment, and while it’s weighty and strong enough to wipe out just about anything in the room, it’s nevertheless controlled by the execution of the lyrics. Keeping excess out of the equation was an important element of this band recording their latest single, but interestingly enough, I would say that the most climactic point in this song is the fleeting moment in which they abandon any concern for adhering to the rules of a minimalist model. This too feels intentional, and for a group of musicians as careful as this crew is, why wouldn’t it be?
Bobby and the Crew have had my attention for a minute now, and for a band that is still working out of the underground in 2023, that’s saying something. “Prince of Charm” is perhaps the flipside to “Let the Candle Burn” in more ways than one, and if any of you were expecting a carbon copy in this latest release, I don’t think you’re getting why this group is as stylish and worth following as they are. This is a band that isn’t going to give us the same song a forty different ways across five albums; they’re simply too ambitious to allow for such nonsense to penetrate their story, and that’s why their discography is one I as a critic won’t be stepping away from in the next few years.
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