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Music Review : Circus of Power – Four

Review by Kristin Welcome

You may remember Circus of Power for their hard edged, bluesy, biker-rock. Circus of Power began their career as a band in the late 1980’s, and their full length album“Vices” secured major tours. The band disbanded in the mid 1990’s, and has been relatively quiet until the release of the album “Four”, in Autumn of 2017.

“Four” is a prolific album, with fourteen tracks which run the gambit on musical influences, from the blues based biker-rock, the band is known for, to influences from Punk, New Wave, Stoner, and Acid Rock. The line-up of musicians on this album features original vocalist Alex Mitchell, with the addition of Billy Tsounis (lead guitar) and John Sharkey (bass). Also bringing his musical prowess on drums is Stoner-Rock legend Brant Bjork.(formerly of Kyuss, Fu Manchu) The Acid/ Stoner-Rock grooves can be felt more heavily on this album with Bjork’s influence.

The album opens with classic Circus of Power tracks like “Fast and Easy” and “Hard Driven Sister”. Both songs emulate the raunchy, hard driven sounds one expects from Circus of Power. “ Fast and Easy” in my opinion, is the superior of the two tracks, with underpinnings rooted in the Blues.

Also on the album are songs like, “American Monster”, and “ Come Git Some” which take a punk rock twist, with  hard driving, fast guitar riffs. Also with a heavier ZZ Top inspired sound comes the song, “Love Sick Blues”.

The album highlights the diversity of Circus of Power, taking the listener in a more melodic direction with songs like “Half a Dozen Roses”, and the spacey “Princess of Mars.”” Princess of Mars” is situated somewhere between Stoner/Acid-Rock, and New Wave. Driving even further into the abyss of Stoner and Psychedelic Rock, are tracks like “Flying into L.A”, and “The Tea Song”. “The Tea Song” reminiscent of The Doors, delivers on a spoken word piece, taking the listener through a psychedelic journey.

The album does not stop short of highlighting the bands musical range, but also shows the bands socio-political conscience with the song “Blood at Standing Rock” which is written in protest to the Dakota Access Pipeline, and a reflection of the NODAPL movement, led against the destruction of sacred water sources, located on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, which spans North and South Dakota.

The album upon first listen can seem almost sporadic, the first few songs in regular Circus of Power fashion, then the pace shifts and a myriad of musical styles are revealed as tracks progress. Influences perhaps of The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, ZZ Top; you name it can be heard. The more you listen the more the album evolves and the more musical gems are revealed. “Four” may very well be the best album produced for Circus of Power thus far, and proof of the musical progression and welcome additions ( in new line up) to the band.

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