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Argent - Circus CD (album) cover

CIRCUS

Argent

 

Crossover Prog

3.33 | 69 ratings

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patrickq
Prog Reviewer
2 stars There are points on Circus, especially on the first two songs, 'Circus' and 'Highwire,' where the album sounds like a clever parody of fancy-pants concept albums. The sometimes histrionic lead vocals, echo-chorus backing vocals, and grandstanding synthesizer leads aping guitar solos - - it almost sounds like someone did too good a job at Spinal Tap.

But in a strange, Poe's-Law way, Circus is, by definition, pretty good: after all, it does mimic 1970s concept albums without plagiarizing any single 1970s concept album.

There are also points on Circus where I wish the album had no vocals, or that the words were sung in some language I didn't understand. Musically, some of the compositions are good. For example, the melancholy 'Clown' might have said the proverbial thousand words without any words other than the title; conversely, the near-funk-fusion of 'Trapeze' is very good, but its 7/4 meter hardly evokes the motion, or any other aspect, of a trapeze. Actually, 'Trapeze' exemplifies a core problem of Circus: the concept has to be force-fit in places.

And then there are points on Circus, specifically on 'Shine on Sunshine' and 'Jester,' where the group seems to be genuinely trying to sound like Queen. Between these two songs is the semi-ambient synthesizer piece 'The Ring' - - go figure.

Circus is not a total calamity; 'Clown' and 'Trapeze' are pretty good when you look past the lyrics, for example. But I can't recommend it to anyone other than Argent enthusiasts, and I have to believe that they already have it. For everyone else, I'd suggest looking into some of the concept albums by Alan Parsons Project or Electric Light Orchestra.

patrickq | 2/5 |

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