spiritual raptureAlbum Review

Four Candles: Spiritual Rapture  (German Shepherd)

limited edition CD / DL

out now

Regular perusers of Louder Than War will know German Shepherd Records and Ian Moss – Salford music enthusiast and catalystFour Candles are his latest of many bands and collaborations, and this is their second album…

Four Candles despite the comedic name are a serious band.  They deal in introspection and exorcism.  Self analysis and therapeutic rant’n’roll. The songs document life on the margins.

They have become more sophisticated on Spiritual Rapture. There is definitely a progression here.  Everything is gelling more and each constituent part is better, sleeker, funkier.

Strange Things Are Happening is a beautifully paced song. Mark Taylors plaintive guitar figure being the hook, counter-balancing the dread of the lyrical content. (a vague simillarity to the Ants ‘Tabletalk is pure coincidence I imagine.)

Chastity Belt is driving piece of garage rock all the better for a bumble-bee-in-a-jar saxophone giving it a Cravats feel.  “They put my privates on parade..” is a great opening line!

Dipping A Toe In The Water is perhaps the stand-out track as Ian Moss finds himself singing in an uncharacteristically gentle soft-spoken manner.  The bass’n’sax groove is almost Bowie-like and Taylors guitar again is exceptional.  The lyric about cultural appropriation and music snobbery is cool and it’s just the smoothest piece of music Four Candles have made, and could well point to a future direction.

C33 is a storming return to clipped punk snarl on the subject of Oscar Wilde.

You Can’t Be What You Pretend is an epic too.  Psycho Killer style bass, a Lydon-esque vocal and guitar which reminds me of proto-Goths the Virgin Prunes.

I Hate BasketWeaving is a slide-guitar garage-blues stomp which is about the tedious, supposedly theraputic practice which mental patients were taught and made to do. (Hence the expression ‘basket case’)

Ian Moss has always believed in raw, spontaneous, immediacy in the music his bands make.  The feel rather than the technical polishing and constantly re-writing, re-mixing.  Even if he had the luxury of the time and money, the timeframe between writing, recording and releasing has to be as short as possible.

I do wonder what Four Candles would produce if they took more time to fine-tune their work though … and spent more valuable time and real hypothetical money.  I say this because what they do on a limited budget is so bloody good, what they could potentially produce would be genuinely game-changing and would appeal to a wider audience,

But as it is this is a powerful piece of work and stands as Moss and his band and his labels finest.


Buy the CD here  (DL’s available soon) Bandcamp page  

Thanks to Rockin Vale Media for use of the video


All words by Ged Babey


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Ged Babey is 56. from Southampton, has written since 1985 for Sound Info, Due South, various fanzines and websites, contributed to Record Collector magazine and was sole author of 'Punk Throwback' fanzine -the name of which was taken from an insult hurled at him by the singer with a young band he managed for a while. Ged believes that all good music and art has a connection with punk rock.


  1. Great review Ged.

    I couldn’t agree more with your comments on this cracker of an album. Interesting your point around “I do wonder what Four Candles would produce if they took more time to fine-tune their work though” as I think the DIY aspect of this while fabulous may lose a bit of edge if it was too polished. That said I would love to see what more could be done with this album with perhaps a couple more songs added with more time and polish as you point out.

    If you want to use any of my photos from the gig at Peer Hat last week for your review please do.

  2. For clarity – the whole album is only available via Bandcamp or at gigs. Digital downloads will be in the form of three two track singles released in June, July and August. Bandcamp stocks of CDs are very limited.


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