Circus were a shining example of the creative explosion at the heart of the early days of Progressive Rock. A tight knit jazz-rock band that crafted high quality musical workouts, Circus mixed the heavier aspects of late 60s rock with the nuances of jazz modulations, folk, pop and even forays into psychedelia. Circus decided to focus less on the sound of the pop psych scene and joined the ranks of the more experimental progressive bands emerging during the 60s such as Soft Machine, Caravan, Colosseum and King Crimson, although the pop connections were still a major part of the band’s sound. That pop-art sensibility shines through on tracks like their inspired cover of The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood”, nailing the melodic aspects of the song but augmenting it with a stealthy jazz improv performance, making it their own creative freak-out, and their beautiful cover of The Mamas & Papas’ “Monday Monday”, which is arguably more exquisitely executed than the original. The band is known as the first project of saxophonist / flautist Mel Collins who would play on some of the earliest King Crimson albums (“In The Wake of Poseidon,” “Lizard,” “Islands,” “Red”), that kick-started the prog revolution. However beyond mere name recognition from Collins, very few have experienced the unique sounds that Circus was creating at the time on this forgotten gem of a record.
Sadly disbanding before they gained the wider notoriety they would have deserved, their groundbreaking eponymous debut, is now repressed on wax as part of Svart’s Mondo series, with extensive liner notes and gatefold jacket and a brand new re-master at Orgone Studios. A hugely desirable collector’s item among Progressive Rock aficionados and a highly recommended surprise from the past.