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Cirkus - One CD (album) cover

ONE

Cirkus

 

Eclectic Prog

3.50 | 45 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Psychedelic Paul
5 stars CIRKUS were a quintet of Geordies from Sunderland in the north-east of England. Cirkus' opening act in their big top performance came in 1974 with their "One" album. Another two decades would pass by before Cirkus re-emerged in the arena with their second album "Two - The Global Cut" in 1994, followed by a third album "III - Pantomyme" in 1998. Cirkus weren't quite finished yet though because they had one more final performance left in their repertoire with "IV - The Blue Star", released as recently as 2017. It's the opening 1974 act we're focusing on here though, which was re-issued on CD in 2015 with two bonus tracks added to the original nine songs on the album.

Cirkus have conjured up an incredible acrobatic performance of a lifetime with the exhilarating opening number "You Are". It's a booming and bombastic explosion of powerful prog that's unashamedly pompous and anthemic. The magnificent music features a rousing female chorus, repeatedly chanting "You Are" in perfect harmony over this fully orchestrated symphonic epic. There's also the gorgeous sound of a Mellotron to be heard underlaying the music, which adds to the sense of symphonic spendour and glorious majesty. If this bravura opening performance is anything to go by, then we could be in for a rather special treat indeed in the big top arena of Cirkus. The next spectacular act is "Seasons", a marvellous Mellotron melody balancing on a delicate high-wire of lush strings which wash over the listener in a tremendous rush of permanent waves of symphonic pleasure and delight. "Seasons" is a haunting, melancholic refrain that's in the same stellar league as the Mellotron classic "Epitaph" by King Crimson, with the Cirkus singer blessed with the same rich honeyed tones as the gifted and much- missed vocalist Greg Lake. "Seasons" is a gorgeous sunburst of dazzling anthemic power and epic grandeur that's guaranteed to brighten up the dullest of days. It's back to "April '73" now for our third Cirkus act. "April '73" is a very commercially appealing song with definite smash hit potential, if only it had been given the chance to grace the airwaves by being released as a single. There are obvious parallels to be drawn with Jeff Lynne's Electric Light Orchestra in this sensational string symphony of sound. The splendid year of 1973 is generally recognised as being the ultimate high-point of Progressive Rock, and you can hear why when you listen to the superb Cirkus performance here. Our fourth act "Song for Tavish" is a wondrous story of love and romance, where the lovelorn singer goes into full heart-wrenching emotional overdrive in this powerful symphonic ballad. He's able to conjure up powerful emotions and tug at the heart-strings in the same way as Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, and this song does indeed sound somewhat reminiscent of their classic "Nights in White Satin". Just as Barclay James Harvest recorded their rousing and anthemic masterpiece "Poor Man's Moody Blues", this Cirkus song represents a less well-known but equally good resemblance to the classic Moody Blues epic. Save a prayer now, because "A Prayer" is the title of the stirring paean which brings Side One to a thrilling climax. This powerfully impassioned, devotional song opens deceptively gently as a lilting Folk Rock refrain, but then blossoms out magnificently into a majestic symphony of epic proportions with truly awesome power and magnificent grandeur. WoW!! This is a rousing and stupendous celebratory song of praise and worship, the likes of which you may never have heard before. The rather mundane "Songs of Praise" on Sunday television will never be the same again!

It's time for some "Brotherly Love" now, a storm and thunder hard rocker that's the heaviest song so far on the album. It's always a delicate balancing act in juggling the right combination of "hard" and "soft" songs for an album, but Cirkus have mastered the art to perfection in this sensational album of thrilling trapeze performance acts/songs. We're getting all nostalgic now with "Those Were The Days", and the early seventies were indeed the glorious days when prog ruled the music world. This invigorating and uplifting explosion of psychedelic Prog-Rock will take you right back to those wonderful glamour and glitz days of Afghan coats, flared jeans, platform boots and Iron Butterfly flowers and beads. This is a song that's positively bursting at the seams with flower-power love and a desperate yearning for magical times gone by. It's only when you look back, you realise what a wonderful time the seventies were for music lovers, despite what some cynical music journos might say, but then, what do they know!? Enough reminiscing, it's time to meet "Jenny", a charming Pop song to add to Cirkus' stunning repertoire of great songs. This beautifully-produced melody is given the full symphony of strings treatment, guaranteed to carry you blissfully away on a #9 Dream to Seventh Heaven. The final song is simply called "Title Track" divided into "i. Breach" and "ii. Ad Infinitum". Cirkus fully intended to make this a truly unforgettable grand symphonic epic to linger in the memory, forever and ever, amen, and they've achieved that with spectacular style and panache. This has to be one of the most marvellous symphonic epics EVER to close an album!

Cirkus have given the big top performance of a lifetime with this "One" outstanding album!

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |

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