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Circus of the West - We'll See Ourselves Out (2017)




Written by Mike Yoder, posted by blog admin

Circus of the West’s We’ll See Ourselves Out entices its audience with a mystical amalgamation of carefully crafted melodic songs that bravely explore the quieter spaces while being unafraid to dive headlong into crisp, bombastic rock n’ roll that frequently goes for broke in terms of the vast amount of ground it covers. 

The album is consistently confounding in terms of its complexity.  On one hand you’ll get up-tempo rock meets punk meets Mason Dixon boogie on opener “Birdhand” or the arena sing-a-long wallop of “Looking In.”  In these moments the band are comfortable within the confines of acrobatic, speedy rock riffs, punk rhythms punctuated by heady work on the snare and walking bass lines and a vocal prowess that sees lead man Edwin Caldie form the focal point amidst a tempest of seamless background harmonies.  These high-octane tracks are instantly contagious, immediately affecting and instantly caught by the ears to form permanent memories. 

Rumbling, blues-riffed gems such as “Resurrection” and “Finale” cement their groove on vibrant electric leads, the occasional burly power-chord salvo, rise/fall vocal sections that have masterful control of tone, tasteful synth/organ stingers like a more stripped-down Uriah Heep and expert arranging/playing that keeps things exciting even when the speed is mid-tempo through and through.  Other cuts like “Some Connections” and the particularly powerful “Boxes” mush on through steady-handed choruses and dipping, lopping rhythms which traverse the many peaks and valleys of punk’s poppy, infectious cousin new wave.  Circus never overuses or really even allows for that dated 80s keyboard sound, instead they substitute sweeping, dual synthesizers for an altogether different effect. 

Circus of the West are even adept at ballads that’s main focus is on piano, Caldie’s soloist-worthy vocal build-ups and subtly grooving drum/bass combinations (see “Nothing Special” for a more electrified take on this ideal and particularly “Valentine Eye” and “More” for the softest demonstrations of such).  A few completely isolated tracks mark the appearance of ideas utilized only in a couple of tracks each, including the jazzy, soul-inspired electric guitar rock of “Asma” and the acoustic country curtain call “Epilogue.”

A rock album of light/shade, melody/gut, and soft/tough, sure/curious is hard to come by right here/right now.  We’ll See Ourselves Out is that album and an outstanding one at that from Circus of the West.  In the end it might possibly possess on ballad too many, there is no direct filler to be found and even on a debut this quintet frequently shines. 

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Swirl’s recent video for their single “Rise Up” highlights all of the qualities that brought the band to the attention of Ditch Day’s producers. The popular movie highlights three songs from the Southern California four piece and represents some of their biggest exposure yet. It follows on the heels of their self-titled release and the songs selected for inclusion on the film soundtrack represent the quality of that release quite well. The band consists of lead singer Alfred Ramirez, guitarist Duane “DT” Jones”, bassist Shane Carlson, and drummer Brian “Bam Bam” Jones. Their vivid and muscular hard rock veers into outright metal at certain points, but Swirl never goes in for the mindless bash and thud sound so common to lesser bands in this genre. Th…