Circus Devils


Happy Jack

Jul 07, 2009 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Gringo is the seventh—count 'em, seventh—album by Robert Pollard and longtime collaborators Tim and Todd Tobias. Previous Circus Devils albums were crazy, psychedelic, noisy, and, well strange, but Gringo is billed by the band's website as, "Circus Devils goes acoustic!" Acoustic it may well be, but Gringo is still crazy, psychedelic, and strange; the noise factor is simply dialed down a bit. "Monkey Head" is dark and minimalist. "Before It Walks" is gentle and airy. "Easy Baby" is a dissonant soundscape, and "Every Moment Flame On" features priceless vocal melody. The closest musical comparison is to early Peter Gabriel-led Genesis, except without the long songs. Pollard is as obscure and obtuse in his lyrics as ever, evidenced in lines such as "Psychopath ice cubes burn worm holes through every worthless human target." One would need advanced study in philosophy and poetry, as well as a handful of acid, to decipher this sort of message. But the crazy musical and lyrical musings are what define these projects. They are what make them interesting. If you want "Teenage FBI," go buy Do the Collapse. (

Author rating: 7/10

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