For some reason, 23 years later, I have a soft spot for Circus of Power.
At the time, thrash-obsessed as I was, COP seemed like Guns ‘n’ Roses wannabes and not worth hearing; in retrospect they were a heavily-punk-influnced, Ramones and/or TSOL-meets GNR– and surprisingly unique.
I should’ve known they were geniune, but gimme a break– I was a teenager, and MTV portrayed them in the light in which they thought they’d sell the most.
I went over their debut before— Vices is the second album. Here, they’re still working the whole GNR-in-New York hard rock vibe, and it still totally works. They’ve definitely got similarities with GNR, but also with the Ramones, and also with pretty much every punk band around at the time, as well as Mississippi delta blues.
It sounds cool as hell, written like that, and in point of fact– is.
“Vices” the lead single, has a great, if simplistic, riff, and clichéd-yet-cool lyrics that Alex Mitchell and his badass baritone makes work (and this 23 years later). “Last Call Rosie” works the shit out of a single feedback-drenched B fifth chord; “Doctor Potion” is a great Metallica-meets-LA Guns riff which becomes a galloping Iron Maiden riff under the solo; “Los Angeles,” a I-IV-V blues in E standard, starts almost exactly like Danzig’s “She Rides” yet somehow sounds more genuine; “Got Hard…” is virtually identical, with maybe a faint southern rock influence, which “Junkie Girl” expands on, in pop-rock form… “Simple Man-Simple Woman” goes so far as to start with acoustic slide guitar, quickly becoming an E standard sleazy rocker….
Overall– Circus of Power give you a clear idea of what Mississippi Delta Blues might sound like filtered through a heavily-urban setting (New York), played by White people.
Is it a good thing that the blues, in its I-IV-V form, still works like this?
Download (not available anywhere in digital form).