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Circus 2000 - An Escape From a Box CD (album) cover

AN ESCAPE FROM A BOX

Circus 2000

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.22 | 36 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars CIRCUS 2000 released their self-titled debut album in 1970 but didn't exactly catch the world by storm. Although they emerged from Turin, Italy, this band was one of the rare examples of a psychedelic rock band that completely ignored the trends that were sweeping Italy and instead looked to California's west coast scene of the late 60s inspiration. Touted as Italy's version of Jefferson Airplane, mainly due to the charismatic vocal style of Silvana Aliotta and backed up by folk inspired psychedelic pop, the band continued these elements that debuted on the first album and continued them on their 1972 sophomore album ESCAPE FROM A BOX which while completely performed with English titles and lyrics, has a tag along (FUGA DALL'INVOLUCRO) in the album title.

ESCAPE FROM A BOX is a much more polished album than the debut. The production is the obvious improvement. While the debut sounded raw and unpolished, this one add all kinds of nice smoothing out effects that allow the music to flow in more of the psychedelic ways that were probably intended on the debut as well. Stylistically ESCAPE FROM A BOX is a much mellower affair. If the debut album was an alternative version of Airplain's "Surrealistic Pillow" minus the top notch pop hooks, ESCAPE FROM A BOX is more like "After Bathing At Baxter's" or "Crown Of Creation," which adds more folk elements and subtle changes that meander around in far more progressive ways than the debut. The tracks are also lengthier with more time to develop beyond the short and to the point pop aspects.

ESCAPE FROM A BOX is more interesting than the debut. The tracks are more varied. There are more psychedelic effects and Aliotta doesn't sound as much like a second rate Grace Slick. The progressive touches have been amplified manyfold yet without jettisoning the 60s influences that dominated the debut. The album did find the new drummer Franco Lo Previte replacing original drummer Roberto Betti and adds a bit more jazzy touches in the percussion department. The track "Need" extends past the eight minute mark and offers some of the most diverse guitar parts of the band's career but once again on tracks like this i find that Aliotta evokes more a Shocking Blue vocal performance that Mauriska Veres belted out than what Grace Slick was all about. The pop hooks are more polished on this one as well which makes this a more engaging listening experience than album #1 as well.

While the band caught did catch more attention this second time around as they even won the Rome based competition "Festival d'Avenguardia e Nuove Tendenze," which they shared with the big prog player Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, the band ultimately succumbed to lack of interest and disbanded. Personally i find it logically since the local Italian scene had well moved on from the psychedelic 60s and the saturated American scene had no room for European migrants to weasel into the already waning scene. Nevertheless, out of the two albums CIRCUS 2000 released, ESCAPE FROM A BOX is by far the more interesting for those who want a more progressive rock oriented experience. Despite outshining their debut, even this second album is a bit uneven with an awkward folky ballad styled intro opening up the album and not really picking up until "Our Father." However the best tracks on here are much more psychedelic than anything Jefferson Airplane every recorded and worth the price of admission alone. Aliotta would continue on as a solo artist but CIRCUS 2000 has pretty much been relegated to the obscurity bin with original albums fetching a hefty price tag.


A 3.5 star album but i'll round up because the second side is really good.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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