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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Circus Mind

Joy Machine

Review by Gary Hill

This band, and this album, are interesting. The sound is quite retro, yet there is a modern edge. We get plenty of fusion here, but there are other elements as well. I can make out echoes of acts ranging from James Brown to Living Colour, Jellyfish and The Rolling Stones. It's all effective and entertaining.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Are You Ready? (feat. Brandon "Taz" Niederauer)
There is some killer funk on the menu here. The retro sounds of the tune make me think of Rare Earth to some large degree. This is a powerhouse tune and a great opener. It's so much fun. The tasty, melodic guitar solo really brings the class and the cool.
Circus Mind (feat. Scott Metzger)
The retro sounds are all over this one, too. The cut has some proggy shifts and turns. I'm not completely sold on the vocals here. The song is a fun one, though.
Airwaves (feat. Brandon "Taz" Niederauer)

We're back into funk zones here. This has some space rock elements at play to some degree, too. It's another smoking hot tune. The vocals on this call to mind Mick Jagger to some extent.

Mean Mutha F**** (feat. Max Newman)
I love the horns on this thing, but the whole tune just delivers some retro goodness. There is still some funk in the mix, but not as in=your=face as it was on the previous tune. I love the backing vocals and the organ textures on this thing. Obviously this earns a parental advisory for the lyrics. The guitar solo on this thing is on fire.
Longing Song (feat. Nels Cline)
A little mellower, this is no less retro in nature. It's a cool tune, too.
Jazzfest Time (feat. Ivan Neville & Big Sam)

The horns on this are classy. The tune has plenty of funk and style. I love the organ solo on this powerhouse.

Errand Boy (feat. Chris Fasulo)
Somehow this tune reminds me a little of Jellyfish. It has some psychedelia in the mix. It's another entertaining tune. It brings some variety, too.
Three Muses (feat. Kevin Griffen)
There are some hints of country music in this, sort of a Little Feat variety. This is a fun tune, and it brings some variety.
Nutbag (feat. Marc Ribot)
There is some real fusion and prog in the mix on this thing. It's an energetic and particularly cool instrumental with some incendiary guitar work.
Troubled Times (feat. Walter "Wolfman" Washington & Bill Titus)
Blues, jazz and more seem to merge on this solid tune. It's an entertaining one that makes a great closer. There is a false ending that gives way to reprise that brings some serious funk to bear. That part makes me think of James Brown.
 
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