Another Sweet Mess

Vivacious Santa Barbara, Calif., songstress Kirstin Candy's first album with major distribution (following a pair of self-releases) shows an uncommon command of self-penned pop-rock, expertly produced

Vivacious Santa Barbara, Calif., songstress Kirstin Candy's first album with major distribution (following a pair of self-releases) shows an uncommon command of self-penned pop-rock, expertly produced by Don Smith and performed with aplomb by Candy and stellar guests (including Jim Keltner, Steve Ferrone, Ivan Neville, Cracker's Johnny Hickman, and Counting Crows' David Immerglück). Among plenty of highlights are lead cut "Crazy (About You)"; the autobiographical "Money," which features vocals from both Ferrone and Neville; the noir-ish "It Ain't Pretty"; the Kate Bush-like "Flesh and Blood"; and the mandolin-infused and appropriately ethereal "Heaven." Incidentally, the disc ends with hidden track "Whisper," the Smith-produced single from last year that earned Candy secondary-market radio play and initial press acclaim.—JB