Growing Old With Rock and Roll

Growing Old With Rock and Roll

Friday, August 11, 2017

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

Written by William Elgin, posted by blog admin

The release of We’ll See Ourselves Out from the recently formed band Circus of the West marks the first recording appearance of an outfit sure to achieve great things. Few debuts are this cohesive or confident. The five piece gained a lot for this first album thanks to the production efforts of Adam Levy, singer/songwriter and front man of longtime indie darlings The Honeydogs. They are a guitar band, first and foremost, but that doesn’t mean other elements of their sound are neglected or that the band doesn’t experiment with alternate textures or seemingly enjoy occasionally upending listener’s musical expectations. The songwriting team of lead singer Edwin Caldie and guitarist Joel Leviton are clearly positioning themselves for possibly making albums that withstand posterity’s often withering glare. They manage that with ease thanks to, among other reasons, the rich musical arrangements and tweaking their nose at convention.

We’ll See Ourselves Our kicks off with the mildly raucous guitar rave up “Birdhand”. It’s one of the more rough hewn rockers on the album and vocalist Edwin Caldie delivers a forceful introduction to his talents as a front man. The band turns in an equally driven performance full of rock and roll muscle, but it remains surprisingly light-footed despite its aggressive attack. “Some Connections” sports a much leaner, focused musical slant not as reliant on massed banks of guitar chords and centered on drummer Alan Einsman’s dexterous and powerful playing. The band’s penchant for bringing backing vocals in at rousing points during their songs hits an early zenith on “Boxes” and the manner they adopt orchestrating this from a relatively low-fi acoustic beginning into electric guitar powered crescendos makes “Boxes” one of the album’s best tracks. “Nothing Special” features the first appearance of piano on We’ll See Ourselves Out and the marriage of Caldie’s plaintive emotion with melodic, slightly melancholy piano passages is an excellent pairing that sets the stage for the performance as a whole. Electric guitar makes its presence increasingly felt and, when the whole band comes in, Circus of the West has built an impressive and patiently dramatic momentum that carries the remainder of the tune.

“Resurrection” is one of the album’s more nakedly ambitious numbers and a drumming showcase for Alan Einsman. The circular, slightly hypnotic guitar riffing guiding the song matches up well with Einsman’s playing and they opt for placing the musical flourishes at points when they will prove most effective. It certainly boasts one of the album’s best choruses. “Finale” rides its performance metaphor throughout and it meshes well with another piano centered arrangement, but the real highlight here is an open-hearted and deeply emotion performance from Caldie. “Asma” takes a slightly idiosyncratic approach to its arrangement and it distinguishes the song from much of the other album while sounding very much a part of the band’s over-arching creative vision. We’ll See Ourselves Out is a punchy and charismatic first release with more intelligence in its eleven songs than many other bands muster over eleven full length albums. It is an entertaining and rollicking ride as well.

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