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Argent - Circus CD (album) cover

CIRCUS

Argent

 

Crossover Prog

3.33 | 69 ratings

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GruvanDahlman
4 stars I don't claim to be an expert on Argent. I just want to make that clear. I have followed him, somewhat, through the years, starting with The Zombies and into the stuff he did with his namesake band. However, I do think that I have come to some sort of conclusion and that is that the urge to express himself within the boundaries (or lack there of) supplied by the progressive rock genre came creeping up on him. Right up to "Nexus" (the album prior to "Circus") the music was sort of straight forward and not really all that progressive. However, on "Circus" he finally embraced the genre and made an album of pure prog bliss. At least that is what I surmise.

"Circus" is a concept album concerning different areas of performing within the circus. I love a good concept album. It's so prog. The whole album is tightly played and doesn't let go of me for the duration of the album. 37 minutes of extremely tight playing and joyous spirit. There are three tracks that really do stand out amidst these seven wonderful tracks. "Circus" (fantastic overture and pure brilliance for 3 minutes and 50 seconds), "Highwire" (with playful keyboards that turns into drama and suspense at circa 5.40) and "Trapeze". The latter is the pièce de resistance on the album. Amazing instrumentation and full of jazzy progressive drama. AT 5.06 there is a fantastic 10 seconds long section after which the band heads into an amazing hard rock/jazz rock jamming but only for 40 seconds. Bliss! It is that sort of spicy ingredients that fills my cup. "Trapeze" is wonderful. Jazzy, hard rocking and thumping basslines. Lovely!

There are other tracks well worth hearing, such as the gentle "Clown". Beuatiful! Or "Shine on sunshine", which is the finest song Queen never wrote with a prominent mellotron. "The jester" acts as the finale, rounding up the visit to the circus. A great track in it's own rights.

The inclusion of John Verity is a brilliant move. He has such a great voice and delivers passionate vocals througout. Well worth mentioning is the abundance of keyboards. Mellotron, organ, electric piano and moog. What more could be asked for? The bass is great, as are the drums.

I must mention the striking cover. A man on a highwire, way up in the ceiling of the circus tent. Two or three colors, drama and beauty. Evocative, maybe that's the word? I can look at the cover for hours. Simply beautiful.

The progressive rock provided by Argent on this album is very jazz-rock and very warm. It is a work of love and passion and I find that it is one of a kind in the discography of the band. You will find progressive touches and flourishes on nigh on any album by Argent (especially "Nexus) but not as focused, devoted and full blown as on "Circus". This album holds a very dear place in my heart and for every listen I walk away with a new experience, a titbit I haven't heard before. A great, underappreciated, somewhat forgotten flower in the garden of progressive rock.

GruvanDahlman | 4/5 |

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