Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

CIRKUS

Symphonic Prog • Canada


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cirkus picture
Cirkus biography
Founded in Trois Rivières, Québec, Canada in 2015

CIRKUS is Alain PROULX (bass, keys, drums, vocals) who has also written, composed and arranged the songs with the contribution of Serge DOUCET for guitar arrangements and C.LUCAS PROULX for vocal arrangements. Alain is a producer of music since the late 70's and has made some soundtrack music. This double concept album "Wild Dogs" contains old songs from that period plus more recent songs. This album was made with their own recording gear, the band chooses to be in a perpetual creation mode. To do that they had to make a compromise on the sound quality for the music which is not the same as the one you can find in a standard professional recording studio. CIRKUS is also a multimedia show where music, projections, lighting, and scenery will contribute to build an experience for the senses.

The music is taking the symphonic Prog Rock 70's sound adding exotic rhythms, classical and musical comedy music. You can hear influences from GENESIS and MICK OLDFIELD. This double concept album about the battle of two dogs one evil and one good contains long epics with plenty of different atmospheres and moods to make it a 2 hours and twenty minutes journey.

rdtprog

See also: HERE

CIRKUS forum topics / tours, shows & news


CIRKUS forum topics Create a topic now
CIRKUS tours, shows & news Post an entries now

CIRKUS Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all CIRKUS videos (1) | Search and add more videos to CIRKUS

Buy CIRKUS Music



More places to buy CIRKUS music online

CIRKUS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CIRKUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.77 | 42 ratings
Wild Dogs - Definitive and Official Bootleg
2017
3.89 | 29 ratings
Wild Dogs
2018
4.12 | 13 ratings
Voodooland
2019
4.38 | 7 ratings
The Fruits of the Unveil
2020

CIRKUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CIRKUS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CIRKUS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CIRKUS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

CIRKUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Fruits of the Unveil by CIRKUS album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.38 | 7 ratings

BUY
The Fruits of the Unveil
Cirkus Symphonic Prog

Review by RelayerFr

5 stars CIRKUS is a progressive symphonic music group from Quebec from the city of Trois-Rivières in Canada. After a bootleg and two all excellent albums here has arrived "The Fruits Of The Unveil", an opus which remains in the same traces as the previous ones but with more research and maturity. ALAIN PROULX is at the origin of almost everything, songwriter, arranger, mixer ... The recording is done at his home in a studio, the execution is perfectly accomplished, the acoustics invite us to privacy, and the sound delivers excellent analytical and balanced effects, the pieces are mixed at high volume for better sound reproduction, and some passages have required up to 18 tracks! The production without a label has not been criticized. My first chronicle made for this group a year ago with "Voodooland" made me discover lands which I was not used to traveling, a sort of entry into a sphere where the voices contrast strongly with the proposed musical refinement. It is not a question here of growl, but of omnipresent songs with very masculine aspects being transformed by deliberately crazy passages, a kind of controlled and assumed slippage, but with a little redundant side sometimes ... Indeed, this quartet us delivers here as in their previous album theatrical scores, cinematographic effects, and expressionist scents ... because this work often presents a high level of dissonance, dynamic contrast, constant changes of textures, as well as melodies and distorted harmonies. The vocal ranges are similar to MORISSEY (THE SMITHS), PETER MURPHY (BAUHAUS), PETER HAMILL (VDGG) or even DAVID BOWIE. The instrumental is largely represented by the influences of GENESIS and YES in bits and pieces. The texts are full of poetry and speak to us, among other things, of redemption in pain, of certainty in the beauty of light and of the heavens, of fallen angels and of the evil one ... but with hope as a central point. Let's see more closely if these fruits will reveal some little gourmet secrets ... A small farandole "mellotronée" begins "Alternate Pleasures", a deep and uncompromising voice urges us to succumb to tribal temptations and to give free rein to our follies. A pretty melody then comes to titillate our ears with a tempered keyboard reworked by a bouncy orchestration and a bit playful. The song becomes soft and harmonious like a liberation going to a bonfire beaten by a voodoo and frenzied rhythm. Thanks to the words and the tone used, this piece gives off a feeling of heightened awareness, a highlighting of the reality of our contained and unfulfilled aspirations, a cinematic scenario superbly produced thanks to miryads of keyboards and deeply true and authentic songs! (9/10). A faltering voice on the verge of rupture approaches us with "Intimate Behaviors" and speaks to us of unchanging and indestructible love. The mouths suddenly stop to make way for a fast and heavy guitar well brought up, taken up by a jubilant corpus ... mellotron, keyboards, multilayer vocals. The harmonies fly high in the sky with throats which sing like MAMAS AND THE PAPAS thus transmitting all the essence of a successful piece! The end will be repeated with the same verses and almost in the same tone as at the beginning (8.5 / 10). "Room With a View" is a lament recounting the inner torments of man freeing himself from all grip after having faced evil incarnate, it is also a modern waltz with a successful chorus, classic flights to the DVORAK, subscriber arrangements in GENESIS, a thetral voice like PETER GABRIEL, and a casket with the intonations of MORISSEY. The ensemble administers a particularly original and pleasant piece (8.5 / 10). "Winding Streams" invites us with a beautiful little poem to believe in the strength of life and the hopes of the heart, illustrated by a short, simple and melodic, but endearing song (7/10). "Red Moon on Black Church" begins as a Brazilian samba with a "Santanesque" sound, a monotonous voice poetic about the moment of death, a well-turned verse calls out to me: "We are naked, freed from lust". .. A lento and acid guitar plays in the background, the arrangement becomes solemn and delivers a sad and moving Brazilian air, the tone and the tempo given resemble a funeral march, one cannot say that the joy and the good mood are in order here! (7.5 / 10). In "Highly Blinded Faiths" C. LUCAS PROULX welcomes us gently with around him growls and voices overhanging his low and harmonious timbre until 2:30. This melodic passage could have been played like pop music with a hit, but here it will be necessary to listen to the full potential of this chorus and its arrangements hidden by a kind of artistic vagueness admirably consu, but which could have been repetitive for once ...! A small minimalist rock tune with an organ as a fulcrum will continue its progression towards a striking and rare contrast like an alarm coming from the heavens, interrupted by the breath of the angels ... and yes only that! The initial chorus will be replayed in skipping mode and closed by rhythmic guitars in the style of LA BATTERIA (9/10). "A Moment in Time" is a short little melody sung with a lot of grace accompanied by synths and mellotron, an interlude where the poetry is inscribed in a parable (7/10). "The Woods of Given Death" is a new lament with more or less harmonious songs, a guitaristic part à la PINK FLOYD will come to decorate this sullen and bloodless score. The extreme is not always where you think you will find it, and I think that here we have reached the climax of despair ... Intrinsically this piece is not bad but it does not fit my strings ... (6/10). "Toss a Coin" arrives in jerks and is synchronized with the well articulated organ of our crooner, helped by his colleagues thus delivering the verses one by one, followed by synths to the sounds of JEAN-MICHEL JARRE in rhythm with a placed drums well ahead. The corpus gets carried away and we play arpeggios with two guitars to conclude this admirably executed jet in style! (8.5). " "Upward to Know" begins cheerfully with a fast cadence over female "mellotronous" vocals. The song, always so solemn, evokes us legions of archangels (I suppose) leaving to pour out hope and mercy on the earth ... This title evokes the firmament by carrying us very high with a particularly expressive and well supported voice. , supported by sublime keyboards and a guitar that flies away in dazzling arpeggios as could do STEVE HACKETT (8,5). This work will disorient more than one listener at the first listening, it will be necessary to be patient and to search well, because here nothing is left to chance, everything is calculated and carefully arranged for a progressive discovery, as well in the texts than in musical harmonies. Poems with highly spiritual biblical tinsel that will have to be peeled with precision to extract all the tenor, refined chords highlighted by raw voices like wood giving the impression that it is still alive. This feeling that the main leitmotif is contrast, as if the group wanted to bring up the musical essence through perfectly controlled vocal exaggerations. CIRKUS gives us what it can do, and it does it like a group among the greats. Excellent discoveries in perspective, good listening!
 Voodooland by CIRKUS album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.12 | 13 ratings

BUY
Voodooland
Cirkus Symphonic Prog

Review by RelayerFr

5 stars CIRKUS is a Progressive Symphonic music group from Quebec City of Trois-Rivières in Canada, and has just released their second album, "Voodooland". After a rather successful first outing in 2017 with Wild Dogs, here is a galette that promises us some good surprises to be enjoyed without moderation. At the head of this strange and magical land we have the multi-instrumentalist and arranger composer ALAIN PROULX. This quartet delivers us here theatrical or even cinematographic scores, and I would even go to the limit towards expressionist music ... because this work often presents a high level of dissonance, dynamic contrasts, constant changes of textures, distorted melodies and harmonies, and fear as the main subject. We talk about redemption, the world going in error, empires built like sand castles etc ... This tone will be given and evoked like a spell throughout the duration of the album. The palette of influences is quite large in this cursed place, with a wide range that goes from BAUHAUS to PETER HAMILL for vocals to GENESIS and YES for musical structures. "How to Kill" begins with a slow and theatrical voice whose tremolos and lyrics we assess the gravity of the situation. The song is punctuated by a regular tempo, accompanied by a bouncy organ and past fashion which stops in front of an electric guitar playing harpeggios with silky textures and jubilant harmonies. The orchestration is symphonized and the voices harmonize to lead to an intense and structurally elaborate final, but ceaselessly alarmist. "Sidewalk Steam" can be split into three parts in different genres and styles. Indeed this piece begins with a nervous piano revolving around a guitar of good quality, then relayed by a faltering and excessively sluggish voice, combining with acoustics with the tones of YES from the best period. The second part seems turned towards songs deliberately degenerate even dissonant but well controlled, typically Post-Punk in the manner of JOY DIVISION or even TELEVISION. The contrast between the rendering of voices and the musical architecture of Prog is really striking here. This piece ends with a well-composed, calm and pleasant synth / piano duo whose elegance will make us think of GENESIS. "Arrival" is a clever mix of festive songs, choirs sounding like chimes, dismal voices at the breaking point in a style that can be confused with Punk / post Punk wanderings, but paradoxically well brought and coherent, with a passage intermediary which makes us glimpse a MORRISSEY in great shape, but also Indian songs well cadenced and successful. This delirious patchwork interspersed with high-level musical passages makes this piece unique and particularly brilliant. "Blind Parade" takes up the same vocal specificities with a more joyful refrain resembling a hymn dedicated to the blind that we are ... This melody evolves with drum rolls and a fiery and luminous guitar, then becomes again mysterious to end with a lament vindictive and repetitive. With "Sandcastle" how not to think of PETER HAMMILL, this genius with a voice so expressive and overflowing with emotion who made us discover unknown sound spaces. Here the progressive is in the vocals, and the guitar and the keyboards of the accessories carrying the choirs towards an apotheosis filled with drunkenness. I must admit ... this sand castle with such a beautiful and tortured voice made me shudder a little! Contrary to some reviews that I have read, "Catch The Beast" is a very successful composition and expertly interpreted. It won't jump out at you right off the bat, and you'll have to be patient to assimilate the little secrets that will reveal themselves to you as you listen. The interesting points of this title come for many from the vocal games, both individual and collective, from the rendering of the instruments which overlap perfectly with the vocals which will make us think once again of GENESIS. A mysterious atmosphere begins "Like A God", accompanied by a slow voice and diffusing a deliberately false song, giving a feeling of disuse and doldrums. A word of advice ... throw all blunt objects at hand before starting this listening, because the hour is serious and on the plate is written "No Future". But luckily, the musical parts will give us a glimmer of hope. "Masterlord" is here is a good summary of the potential of CIRKUS and a demonstration of C. LUCAS PROULX's talent in terms of singing, with a real ability to master a voice that walks with ease and fluidity between PETER HAMMILL and DAVID BOWIE, an anthology of phrasings well adjusted and held firmly, as well in the rising ones as in the fragile and emotional parts. The accompanists are not left, and deliver us here and there superimposed and polyphonic layers enhancing this bewitching voice, the orchestration suddenly taking its share of the cake with a more complex and more prog approach. My only complaint will be for the finale of this title which seems sluggish and without much brilliance, it's a bit of a shame for the end of the session ... When I discover an album I always trust my first impressions, if they are bad it's a good sign, and vice versa if the production is understandable from the start. Here this rule has proven itself once again. Indeed, from the outset I was not subjugated by these dissenting and dramatic voices, this mixed feeling of listening to a Post Punk group accompanied by a high level Prog orchestration, but especially taken aback by this contrast. After having patiently dissected this work and with the obligation to write a credible column, I discovered with delight a new way of shaping Prog, a kind of raw and fine mixture at the same time that I did not really know, because very heard ... Even if some may find this voice a little too present, do not press the off button before you have soaked up these skilfully constructed melodies, listen to these songs so particular but so deep and let yourself be take them to new and reassuring emotions. Strong recommendations!
 Voodooland by CIRKUS album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.12 | 13 ratings

BUY
Voodooland
Cirkus Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Cirkus is a Symphonic Prog band from Quebec, Canada founded in 2015. The band has only released 2 albums, one in 2017 and one in August of 2019 called "Voodooland". The band line-up has pretty much remained the same with lain Proulx (bass, keyboards, drums, percussion, lead and backing vocals), Serge Doucet (6 and 12 string guitars), and C. Lucas Proulx (lead and backing vocals. Also joining this core line-up this time is Guenille (chimes and noises of all kinds) and Martin Vincent (drums and 12 string guitars) who also has been touring with the band. The album is made up of 8 tracks and it has a run-time of over 70 minutes where they try to capture the energy and theatrics of the live show in long epic tracks.

The album opens with "How to Kill" (7:54) where they immediately establish their strong symphonic sound. The vocals start early on and are quite dramatic sounding sounding even more flamboyant singing in English with the strong French accent. The music moves mysteriously along and finally kicks in with steady, moderate rhythm, a heavier guitar base and a great level of melodious music. The guitar takes over with a nice solo backed by the cinematic sounds. Vocals return before 5 minutes, this time with a lower register vocal singing along at parts. The guitar lead takes over again after 6 minutes, this time joined by a counter musical line from the synth. The dramatic sound returns before the ending to close it off with flourish. "Sidewalk Steam" (8:49) begins with a running piano pattern, guitar and tonal percussion with the symphonic effects of the synths joining in later. Soon the smoothness breaks up with a progressive flair and then things go slow and emotional when the vocals come in. A lovely melody with heavy synth backing emerges, with just enough vocal variance to not sound overly polished. The guitar brings back a fuller sound and then the drums come back in anchoring everything. The vocals come in to match the forward movement of the track. The music continues as progressive style riffs create a bit of tension. The music suddenly slows and becomes pensive in the last minute.

"Arrival" (9:02) begins with a slow, heavy beat and layered vocal effects. The piano comes in to soften things up a bit. Vocals and a more upbeat sound begin after a minute with it all backed by a heavy organ. At 3 minutes, the guitar leads with a pizzicato sound in the string effects and this bridges to the next section with goes back to a heavier beat. This continued interchange from slow to moderate tempo continues to change back and forth as vocal and instrumental sections also take turns. At 5 minutes, a nice cinematic section starts and continues to build with a lot of synth and keys, dramatic drumming and so on. This track definitely stresses a more progressive sound as the themes are less repetitive and the lyrics take on a more storytelling style. Definitely a strong and standout track.

"Blind Parade" (9:31) starts right off with vocals and a march-like rhythm and a strong lilt provided by string effects. The shakiness of the vocals, and the wandering in and out of being "in-tune" is more apparent in this track, but I think it all works in the bands favor so as to not sound overly polished. It does carry a bit of charm to the music, but at times it can be more noticeable than others. At 3 minutes, a nice, smooth guitar solo comes in with airy synths, almost sounding like a mellotron in parts. At 4 minutes, the music becomes softer and pensive as the organ slowly pumps out an almost-calliope style. More intensity returns at 6 minutes and the faster rhythm returns along with the melody from the first. "Sandcastle" (6:58) also begins with vocals right away, this time, though, they take quick, deep growling dives and quickly emerge back to normal. It is a strange, yet unique sound. Before the 3 minute mark, things smooth out more as the vocals stop their strange diving tricks. The track is lyrically heavy and the melody is not immediately apparent. A guitar solo settles in at 5 minutes backed by more symphonic effects.

"Catch the Beast" (7:07) is probably the least interesting track of the bunch, as the smoothness of the beat and synths almost start to sound like a bad disco song. Not much really happens on this track that remains with the listener for long. "Like a God (9:23) is more promising however, as it goes for a more emotional and cinematic sound, which is what the band is better at, and the vocals almost take on a live theatrical performance sound. At 4 minutes, a steady rhythm kicks in and the track becomes smoother, but the vocals are almost consistently out of tune on this one, making it hard to take as seriously as the atmosphere of the track wants it to be. This would be a really great track, except the vocals just don't cut it on this track. However, the instrumentation is quite stirring.

"Masterplan" (11:29) begins with another lovely melody and quiet keyboard-led start. Even the vocals are better on this one. The beat picks up just before the 2 minute mark and the vocals become more theatrical when both vocalists start to sing. After 4 minutes, the sound becomes more orchestral, but this is all done by synths. The mood shifts again and the storytelling vibe becomes apparent again. The track later shows off some folk elements with a jaunty melody which later moves to an instrumental section with woodwind effects. The song goes into another, heavier direction before 8 minutes as string effects and a heavy organ take over an interlude. This builds to a nice climax, then mellows right out with an electric piano. Nice contrast. The vocals and symphonic syths suddenly return as the main theme returns. Another excellent track, and so the album closes on a strong performance.

The biggest complaint I have is that at times, the vocals sound a bit too out-of-tune and can be annoying. This problem is very apparent on some tracks, while not so much on others when they only slip out of tune for a few seconds. The instrumentation makes up for the short mishaps. It would seem maybe one of the vocalists is more off-key than the other, but I'm not sure which one has the biggest problem. The music itself is very good however, and definitely cinematic and symphonic. The songs themselves are great with a lot of progressive passages, tempo, meter and mood changes within most every song. The musicianship is at a very high-level, and unfortunately, the vocals contrast that to the extreme on a few of the tracks. There are some excellent highs on this album especially in "Arrival" and "Masterlord", but there are some definite lows like on "Sandcastle" and "Catch the Beast". "Like a God" is almost a high, but the vocals are too far off. Anyway, it is a pretty good album, and actually stretches into a 4 star album, but some of the vocals weaken the overall sound to where it teeters into a lower rating. It's worth listening to, but I would hope that some of the weaknesses disappear on the next venture.

 Wild Dogs by CIRKUS album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 29 ratings

BUY
Wild Dogs
Cirkus Symphonic Prog

Review by Harlequin_2017

4 stars I discovered CIRKUS through Wild Dogs (official bootleg) last year and I kept on listening since. I was thrilled to see that they took the time to release a new edition of this beautiful material for the anniversary of the first release!

Some slight change in the pacing, but most of all, the rerecording of some of the instruments and the new mastering makes it event more enjoyable! Most of the songs also benefited form the maturity that naturally comes with playing songs for many months as a group as they prepared for their first festival in Quebec City. I highly recommend it!!!

 Wild Dogs by CIRKUS album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 29 ratings

BUY
Wild Dogs
Cirkus Symphonic Prog

Review by Voodoo

5 stars I've already rated the bootleg version of this album. But really, the definitive version is a great improvement for the sound. It's not only a remastered and a remixed.... all the guitars, the bass and the vocals have been rerecorded. Some songs as Dead End have been completely remade with a new structure. There are, as we know, several trends in prog rock. But, in symphonic, old fashion like approach, it's really a must. Near two and a half hours of songs that explore a really wide palette of colors in arrangements. Most of all, the melodies still deep and emotional in a suggestive environment. I still rate it at 5. I do so when I can't stop to listen something over the weeks and periodically come back to it.
 Wild Dogs - Definitive and Official Bootleg by CIRKUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.77 | 42 ratings

BUY
Wild Dogs - Definitive and Official Bootleg
Cirkus Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars 135 minutes of music constructed and sounding like the quirky, moodshifting way that early GENESIS did with the poor sound quality similar to that of from Genesis to Revelation, Trespass, or BABYLON's 1979 self-titled album . . . or worse. There are some GREAT ideas here but all are either poorly or incompletely developed and embellished and are rendered horribly unto reproducible sound. The vocals are interesting for their delicacy and artistic stylings yet the singing is highly fragile, often strained and missing notes off-key. Once again, I am astounded at the music fellow listeners will give five stars. Were this music finished (polished), engineered and produced to professional standards this might be a four or 4.5 star album but, as is, this is no better than a 2.5 or three star album.

Songs worth repeated listenings: the 80s techno-aided title song, 9. "Wild Dogs" (7:17) (8.5/10; 12. "Sanctus" (11:22) (8.5/10); 15. "Broken Promesses" (4:53) (8/10) and, for its choral section, 13. "Harlequins" (11:45) (8/10).

The only people I would recommend trying this album out would be people who really miss the very early music of FAMILY, GENESIS, BABYLON, and their imitators. I'd recommend bands like early MARILLION, CITIZEN CAIN, THE WATCH, CLEARLIGHT, or even THE WAITING ROOM before I'd recommend anyone going here.

2.5 stars, no more.

 Wild Dogs - Definitive and Official Bootleg by CIRKUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.77 | 42 ratings

BUY
Wild Dogs - Definitive and Official Bootleg
Cirkus Symphonic Prog

Review by Sorceress

5 stars With so many albums coming out, it's like wandering in your favorite confectionery asking yourself which one to chose.

CIRKUS is the easy pick if what you are looking for is a mixt of the 70's taste combines with complex flavors changing all along!

War, quest for redemption, inner fight & peace, calmer & torturous times, life and death are a few themes explored in this double concept album about balance/unbalance, thus the band's name, CIRKUS. But more over, all this is wrapped in beautiful and powerful melodies that stays in your head.

You get into it with a touch African beat evolving into more classical themes and for the perfect illustration of the clash between local inhabitants and colonial forces. This epic song is only the beginning of the journey!

Listening to all songs in order will help you appreciate the well planed evolution.

I hope to be lucky enough to see them LIVE as I'm sure that the strong melodies, the crafted vocal and their sound will just blow me away! Only one small note: although the sound on occasions suffers a little from the homeproduction, it should not prevent you from appreciating the album.

Influences noted: Genesis, Moody blues, Procol Harum, some themes reminded me of Mike Oldfield.

 Wild Dogs - Definitive and Official Bootleg by CIRKUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.77 | 42 ratings

BUY
Wild Dogs - Definitive and Official Bootleg
Cirkus Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Though if I had to guess I'd say Cirkus took their name from the King Crimson song of the same name, their debut album isn't especially Crimsony - I'd say it more resembles Genesis-esque material with perhaps a pinch of some of the cheesier neo-prog bands like Galadriel or Pendragon. It's a product of home recording, and whilst in some respects the sound quality is pretty good there are points where the mix gets rather muddled - the vocals are, frankly, not the group's strong point at the best of time, but there are points where they get entirely confused and obscured due to insufficient separation from the instruments, for instance.

It's not terrible, and in some ways it's admirable that their ambitions outstrip their resources to this extent - it means that should they get a shot with more polished studio equipment they might be able to produce something superior. At the same time, two hours and 20 minutes of this stuff is outright excessive; had they trimmed this to the absolute top 40 minutes or so of music, it'd be fresher for it.

 Wild Dogs - Definitive and Official Bootleg by CIRKUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.77 | 42 ratings

BUY
Wild Dogs - Definitive and Official Bootleg
Cirkus Symphonic Prog

Review by omphaloskepsis

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.

 Wild Dogs - Definitive and Official Bootleg by CIRKUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.77 | 42 ratings

BUY
Wild Dogs - Definitive and Official Bootleg
Cirkus Symphonic Prog

Review by Voodoo

5 stars There's so much to say about Wild Dogs, the first album for the Canadian band Cirkus. For a debut album, to go with a double CD of 2 hours and 20 min of music was definitely gorgeous. Nevertheless, you won't feel the whole thing long at any moment. Cirkus explores a so wide range of textures that the album pass as a blink of an eye. There is a strong touch retro prog by the structures of the songs, the construction and the instrumentation but it's new in the same time by the way the fusion is made with ethnic accents and world beat colors. It is definitely what I could describe as organic prog.

We are far from the so called progressive bands who fill CDs of endless guitar solos with keys backgrounds punctuated by boring vocal melodies. On Wild Dogs, each song has a signature, an identity and a specific mood. These guys really know to write nice and powerful melodies. The instrumentation is solid and imaginative to create textured emotions.

The concept album is well balanced from the first 19 minutes epic Dalhousie's Walk, world beat oriented, with a stunning instrumental section to the dark and intense Johnny Got His Gun passing by a latino slap bass drive called Limbo or the instrumental Wild Dogs where the pizzicato violins lead a surprising groove. Lots of symphonic rock stuff like Redeemer, Harlequins, Nightwatch or What's Remain. Over all, an exploration really rich and wide that will eclipse some moments where the mastering is not perfect. Definitely an essential "must have" of the genre.

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.