Exposé Online banner

Cirkus — Wild Dogs
(Bandcamp no#, 2017, 2CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-04-09

Wild Dogs Cover art

Cirkus is a progressive rock band from Quebec, not newcomers (there are four songs here – a full half of the first disc, that were written in the 70s when two members of the trio were part of an earlier band called Loam Tales) but this is their first recorded offering as Cirkus. The band is Alain Proulx, who composed all the songs, plays bass guitar, all keyboards, drums, and percussion, and sings lead and backing vocals, plus is responsible for the recording, mixing, mastering, and production of this sprawling two-disc set. The two other members are Serge Doucet on guitars and C. Lucas Proulx on lead and backing vocals, who according to the CD notes contribute to their own arrangements. So, basically one guy does everything except guitar and then there’s an additional singer. If you had a look at the artist page you will see five people in the photo – two additional members for live performances include drummer Martin Vincent and keyboardist Christine Cantin, but they don’t play on this recording. Maybe the next one. The album concept is that inside each of us there are two dogs, one good, the other evil, and the one that survives is the one that you feed better, but in truth everyone feeds them both.

For starters, this is a long (and I mean really long) album crossing two discs, clocking in at over 138 minutes, averaging over nine minutes per track. Another strike, this is not a professional sounding recording or production, and in many places it shows, but to be fair, on the front of the set it does say “Definitive and official bootleg,” so the band knows they cut some corners; too bad, because this could have been much better than it is. Proceeding from the nineteen minute opener “Dalhousie’s Walk,” (one of the old tracks from the 70s) this is symphonic proggy-prog by the numbers: a little old Genesis here, a little Camel there, some bits that could have fit well on old IQ or Marillion albums, or the very first Saga. There are some nice world-music influences on some of the sections of this opening cut, but the core of their sound throughout is pretty much stock-parts sympho prog. Actually it reminds me a little of all the bands that sprang up in the late 80s in the wake of Marillion’s success, all around the world. You know their names – Edith, Leviathan, Deyss, Chandelier – the list is endless. As well as the earliest albums by Cast, at least for the recording quality. By the time one gets to “Dead End,” the fourteen minute closer on disc one, I’m thinking, "When is this going to end?" Most every song across the two discs is far longer than it needs to be, padded out with seemingly endless wandering verses and such. The second disc fares somewhat better than the first, in fact the eleven minute “Sanctus” is truly beautiful in its powerful choral arrangements, perhaps the best piece on the entire set. Going forward, the band needs to find better engineering and production, keep it to a single disc of maybe an hour in length, trim the fat out of the songs, and make it less of a one-man project. Even the best 60 minutes of material from this set, if properly recorded and produced, would make a superb album.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Cirkus

More info
http://cirkus.bandcamp.com/album/wild-dogs

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music festival world, and music festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Plastic Crimewave Sound - Plastic Crimewave Sound – Plastic Crimewave Sound is a Chicago-based space punk band much in the same vein as their contemporaries F/i, Richard Franecki, and The Vocokesh. PCS has been recording since the late 90s/early...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues