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Cirkus - Wild Dogs - Definitive and Official Bootleg CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.78 | 46 ratings

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5 stars 92/100.... Back in the 1970's halcyon prog years, I remember as a schoolboy greeted on the first day of 6th grade by a taciturn Pink Floyd teacher ordering our class to write an essay on, "How did I spend my summer?" You may wonder, "What's that got to do with Wild Dogs?" Well, upon emerging myself in the mammoth world of Cirkus "Wild Dogs" I couldn't help but muse upon a band that releases an album once a lifetime.

"How did you spend your vacation Alain Prolx and Serge Doucet?" In my minds eye I imagine lead vocals/multi instrumentalist Alain Prolx and guitarist Serge Doucet handing over the double disc I hold in my hands...WiLD Dogs! Somewhere along the way C. Lucas Proulx became involved in the Cirkus as he sings lead & backing vocals too. 40 years is a long time to spend on one album so without further adieux....Wild Dogs

Dalhousie's Walk (19:10) 10/10 An unlikely combo of century old church bells tintinnabulating while pagan drums detonate down green valley chants predating the hippies. This is your Daddy's prog epic! Multiple movements, soaring melodies, with lead vocals reminiscent of Peter Hammill and early folksy David Bowie. Clearly composition is more important than 200 notes a minute. Rich, resplendent, and harmonies to die for! I love this song! The lyrics establish the concept of " We are what we eat". Do we feed the evil dog or the good dog? Proulx's composes addictive keyboard swaths he paints with a broad brush towering keyboard colors. Melody becomes rhythm. This song and album are a time trip. And I mean that in a good way.

Falling The Tree (9:22) 9.5/10 Remember how the late 60's and 70's were so chock full of beautiful music that we thought it would never end? Falling The Tree is like a late 60's Moody Blues addiction I couldn't break. I wish I was a knowledgeable musician then I could describe in detail how wonderful this is...Waves of change,

Limbo (9:17) 10/10 First instrumental... From Trois-Rivières Quebec, Cirkus likes ethnic percussion, near water, flowing down a time tunnel. Resounding soundtrack vignettes of Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lydon or Sally Potter's Orlando. I don't imagine standard drum sets, I see powdered wigs under wisteria over the veranda shirtless shimmering sweating natives pound goat skins taut, tight strung over wooden limbo grooves rhumba and bump and dance at the singles bar, bold brass and woodwinds chit chat followed by a slightly middle class eastern mat of golden grass. Lush keyboards drink and smoke brush strokes deliciously catch moonlight and...

Johnny Got His Gun (6:41) 10/10 Most song oriented song so far. The vocals feel fragilely aggressive the way Lou Read and Tom Verlaine of Television sounded improvised, poetic, and immediate. Again, vocal melody's crescendo and collide whilst subtle harmonies blend and puree. On a personal note, this song is like a drug for me. I splinter and swirl into a spiral...

Hang Over (2:54) 9/10 is the first of two songs in a row partly composed by Loam Tales, a prog band of late 70's in which Alain and Serge first contributed. "We are human" a wild dog metaphor punctuating the concept I feel pervades Wild Dogs. "What are we going to do about it? Feed the nice dog inside us or sell out our insides and feed afraid dog?"

Pastance (4:52) 9.5/10 The initial notes remind me of my Dad's 60's Christmas album...All brass and little drummer boy but that was lasted for only 10 seconds, then the question answer keys riff lay bone graffiti painted teeth edgy and bright like Peter Hammill with a dash of Rik Osasek. Spoiler Alert! Enduring album... getting protective of these wild puppies.

The Nightwatch (6:42) 10/10 In the late 80's I used to daydream Nick Cave went prog? If you spelunker down the esential dark Cave moments enveloped by emotive Tony Bank/ Tony Kaye keys then this song is down that vapory alley, Completely contagious! OMG Orgasmic vocals! Opiate

Dead End (13:53) For me, the most addictive elements of Dead End run rabid down galloping keyboards reminiscent of a lost Tony Banks keyboard rhythm that could uncover hidden swaths of sound, ensconced in a Music Box. Never existed but kind of does now. In search of the lost color. Birthing notes, Serge Doucet leads riff and fascinate me on the fleshy first side of Cirkus's double concept CD. Wild Dogs debut would have been a triple album in the 70's. Still hurtling backwards in time, I catch Ricky Recardo's drum and banana bunch munch down banging on coconuts. Did I mention " This IS A Fun Drum.... Album!"

Intermission....To think, I bought this album for 15 bucks on bandcamp. Steven Wilson-"To the Bone" CD/DVD/Book box set cost me over a hundred. You never know with Prog. I feel the last 7 years is the best progressive rock era since 1969-75'. Stumbling upon Wild Dogs I cannot help but feel Cirkus sounds like a lost treasure undiscovered. I felt like found an exotic kaleidoscopic seashell on the beach.

CD2 - Dog 2 9. Wild Dogs (7:17) (9/10) Unexpectedly, the title song is an instrumental. Violins plucking, Middle Eastern horns and vibrant percussion wax and wane foreshadowing the part 2. The second half of Wild Dogs is the grower side. The melodies are less immediate and more subtle than side one. Perfect instrumental prelude to side 2.

Growing Seeds (10:25) (10/10) sneaks up psychedelic, organic and glorious. Throughout Wild Dogs, Alain Proulx and C. Lucas Proulx sing both lead & backing vocals. I deduced C. Lucas Proulx is either Alain's brother or son since Alaine and lead guitarist Serge Doucet started writing parts of Wild Dogs 40 years ago. Just saying, the vocal contribution of the Proulx tribe is stunning.

What Remains (9:15) (9.5/10) Maybe the most catchy song on side 2, What Remains" contains elements that evoke David Bowie, Nick Cave, Oingo Boingo soaked in honeyed mournful piano seeping like a freezing waterfall.

Sanctus (11:20) (9/10) Sometimes good things come in 3's. The 3rd and last instrumental floats along droning by on a baritone heroine high like Roy Orbison emoting on a tropic slow motion river trip. Mosquitos in amber. Hypnotic wood blocks.

Harlequins (11:45) (7/10) If I had to pick a weaker song, it would be Harlequins. It's not a bad song. I like the retro keyboards and the importance of lyrics moving the concept/story forward toward the finale. I also like the vocals toward the end of the song, however Harlequins doesn't enrapture me the way the rest of the album does.

Redeemer (11:59) 9/10 Keyboards reminiscent of War Child era Jethro Tull accompanied by woody percussion ushers in Redeemer swaying into emotive vocals which speed up toward a catchy new wave prog (circa 79-80) melody. Again, the vocals, keys, and percussion shine. Very pleasurable slow to mid tempo song. Plenty of memorable melodies.

Broken Promesses (4:53) 9.5/10 Last song and what a resplendent addictive vocal melody! Bittersweet and poignant Broken Promesses chokes me up. Melancholy yet hopeful. Beautiful...

Bottom Line... What a hidden gem! Destined to become a lost under the radar classic. Definitely top five 2017 album for me. If you fancy and favor my four other favorite 2017 albums Barock Project "Detachment", Big Big Train- "Grimspound", Wobbler- "From Silence to Somewhere", and Unreal City- "Frammenti Notturni" then doubtlessly you'll relish Cirkus- "Wild Dogs". The only place I know to hear or order Wild Dogs is the Cirkus Bandcamp site.

omphaloskepsis | 5/5 |


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