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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Circus of the West

We'll See Ourselves Out

Review by Gary Hill

This is a band that shows a lot of promise. The first couple songs seem to be the most adventurous moving into territory like jazz, country and progressive rock. Once we get past the start, though, it all settles into more traditional alternative rock. It's good, but it gets a bit "samey" toward the end. I think that if they had left a couple of the songs off of the set, it would have been a stronger release.

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Track by Track Review

Organ brings this in and they fire out from there to some fast paced jamming that's almost prog rock. It drops down to a more mainstream arrangement that's probably more alternative rock than it is anything else. As this continues it really evolves working through a number of shifts and changes. There are healthy doses of both jazz and country music in the mix here.

Some Connections

The vocals on this cut bring a lot of country texture to the piece. The music is more in the alternative rock vein. This is up-tempo and strong. It's a cool tune. After those initial vocals that have the country element, it works to more pure alternative rock.

To a large degree this makes me think of REM. It's another solid alternative rocker. It has a nice balance between more rocking and mellower stuff.
Nothing Special
Piano starts this cut. The vocals come in over the top and the song continues with just those two elements for a time. Then some guitar comes in melodically over the top of that mix. It gets into more rocking territory later, but overall this is a power-ballad at its heart. It has elements of REM, but also Radiohead.
This is more of a rocker. It has an acapella section mid-track. It's a real stomper. It still has some leanings toward that alternative rock territory, but overall it's more classic in texture than that. It does shift into some trippy stuff mid-track that's more along the lines with Radiohead mixed with The Doors. This is arguably the standout cut here.
Valentine Eyes
There is a cool trippy element to this song. It's a mellower one that has a dreamscape kind of feel. This is another of the highlights of the disc.
Looking In

More of a basic alternative rock vibe drives this cut. It has a catchy chorus to save it, but in general it's sort of middle of the road.

Piano is a prominent instrument on this cut. The tune is an energized rocker with mellower sections. It's another mainstream alternative rocker that works reasonably well.
This is not a big change, but rather more of a by-the-numbers alternative rocker. It's not bad, but the formula is starting to wear a bit thin.

Piano starts this one. The cut is another that's good, but a bit too monolithic by this point. I really think a few of these later songs should have been left off the set to make for a stronger album. This is more of a balladic cut, but it's very much by-the-numbers and seems like something we've heard again. The instrumental section later, though, manages to elevate it a bit as do the non-lyrical vocals that come over during that section.

A short little acoustic guitar based tune, this is a nice change and a good closer.
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