No surprises here for fans of Eddi Reader's special brand of swooningly pretty folk-rock. All the elements are in place: the melodies that are so simple that there's no reason why they should make you stop whatever you're doing and close your eyes in pleasure, the unapologetic Scots burr that colors every vowel she sings, the multi-tracked harmonies that cascade blissfully down through every chorus, and the lyrics that simultaneously revel in the glory of romantic love and mourn the wreckage it inevitably leaves behind. Then, of course, there are the chiming guitars that just dare you to hold their obviousness against them, knowing you won't be able to. As usual, there are no real rave-ups here; instead, you get the achingly bittersweet breakup croon added to the looped backbone of "I Loved A Lad", and the luxurious hometown ode "Glasgow Star". Things muscle up just a bit for the retro-soulful "If You Got a Minute, Baby," but that's as tough as she gets on this aptly titled album. Fans of the British folk-rock scene will recognize the fingerprints of her collaborator, Boo Hewerdine, in the melodies and the arrangements, and let's hope they keep working together in the future.
4 Stars - allmusicguide
Once in a while the British pop scene will produce some durable performers who go beyond the trend that brought them forth. We have an excellent example in Eddi Reader, the former lead vocalist in a short-lived group called Fairground Attraction, whose new album, the third under her own name, is entitled Candyfloss and Medicine.
For Candyfloss and Medicine, Ms. Reader collaborated with another fine British singer-songwriter Boo Hewerdine, who with Neil & Calum MacColl (brothers to Kirsty), were part of an excellent, but also short-lived band called The Bible. The result is her finest recorded effort yet, a collection of intelligent songs performed in tasteful but musically intriguing arrangements, sometimes atmospheric, sometimes almost folky. Her voice is in fine form, and her admitted love of ballads and torch songs is evident. In some ways, she can sound like k.d. lang at her most elegant. The other key player on Candyfloss and Medicine is Teddy Borowiecki who plays keyboards, did the added arrangements including the strings, and co-produced the recording with Ms. Reader. Borowiecki also played on k.d. lang's first album.
Of the track Candyfloss, Eddi Reader writes that the song "deals with being in an almost unbearable situation" with the title representing a sweetness contrasting with the "eerie guitar work of Neil MacColl." It's an interesting piece that also shows the more elegant side of Ms. Reader's vocals.
A straight-out love song stands as another of one of the recording's most appealing tracks, Rebel Angel. Sometimes the interesting dichotomy of the attractive melody with the underlying complexity reminds me of Jane Siberry. It's another highlight of this fine album.
One of my favorites on the album is Butterfly Jar, a really intriguing piece, both musically, with its vaguely exotic arrangement, and lyrically. It is described by Ms. Reader as being "about possession and how stupid we are."
The traditional piece on the album is the ancient Scottish folk song I Loved a Lass, which becomes I Loved a Lad. Though the underlying jig rhythm is maintained, Ms. Reader and her colleagues give it a dark, atmospheric, moody quality that very much transforms the song. The result is fascinating.
After being a member of one of those numerous short-lived British pop groups several years ago, Eddi Reader has created her finest album yet in Candyfloss and Medicine. Collaborating with some outstanding figures on the British music scene, including Neil and Calum MacColl and Boo Hewerdine, Ms. Reader creates an album that is both tasteful and musically intriguing. Her wistful vocals can take on the elegance of k.d. lang or sometimes resemble the distinctive character of Jane Siberry, while the backing musicians' arrangements are quite creative and yet very attractive. The result is an album that is definitely a class act and likely to win her many new fans now that it has been released in the US. There isn't a throwaway track on this generous CD.
- George Graham, BBC
Artist: Eddi Reader
Album: Candyfloss & Medicine
Date Of Release: 1996
Genre: Folk Rock, Folk Pop, Singer-Songwriter
Bitrate: CBR 256 kbps