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Circus - Movin' On CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.15 | 112 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Digging through stacks of obscure albums can give you the impression that mediocre music is the rule...well, here's an exception. A triumph of classic progressive rock from Switzerland, "Movin' On" shines from beginning to end.

CIRCUS has a very unique feel; casually disciplined, with delicate layers of sound and a light groovy feel somewhere between Krautrock and the best Italian prog of the period. Except for some sparing use of Taurus pedals, there are no synths- in fact, no keyboards of any kind. Like much of early-to-mid KING CRIMSON, the flute and sax parts provide a perfect organic counterpoint to the distorted bass and the guitars swimming in effects. Above and below all that is plenty of masterful percussion (the vibes are definitely a highlight) and unforgettable vocals- imagine Peter Hammill with a lighter emotional touch and you're almost there. In fact, sections of the music strongly evoke early VDGG, as well as the aforementioned KING CRIMSON, especially during the heavy sax- and- distortion moments. In addition, classic YES fans should equally welcome the rich vocal harmonies and gritty basslines.

CIRCUS is very smart about the track order, as well; starting with the likeable (and at times almost even danceable) "The Bandsman", each song gets a little deeper and more texturally intricate than the last. By the time you immerse yourself in the moody and shifting "Dawn", you've sampled a bit of everything the band has to offer...but the standout title track is an amazingly varied yet cohesive journey that takes the experience even further.

Any criticisms I have are minor; at times the songs seem to develop with a certain disregard for the overall structure, but the transitions are so natural that nothing ever seems jarring. Frei has a pleasant and unique vocal tone, but with an occasional (and to me, very slightly regrettable) tendency to slip into spoken voice instead of singing. That's about it; this album is very close to perfection. I'll hold back the capstone rating simply because "Movin' On" is thoroughly enjoyable rather than breathtakingly brilliant, but an extra half star on top of my four wouldn't be too much.

James Lee | 4/5 |


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