Faith Circus - 'Faith Circus'

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Faith Circus - 'Faith Circus'

Sharp songs with plenty of melody, big choruses, neat harmonies and tuneful guitar solos.

John Kivel’s record label has been in existence for quite a few years now and has released some great melodic hard rock CD’s from bands like AdrianGale, Tour De Force, Radar, TNA, Bombay Black and Talon (reviewed elsewhere in these pages). What all the above acts have in common is that they’re all American, but in the last year the label have been casting their nets wider to take in bands like 7 Days from the UK, and these guys, Faith Circus from Norway. The qualities necessary for a Kivel release seem to be short, sharp songs with plenty of melody, big choruses, neat harmonies and tuneful guitar solos, and Faith Circus tick all those boxes.

A four piece comprising Marius Morch (guitars & vocals), Lasse Koester (bass & vocals), Baard Nordvik (drums & vocals) and band leader, sole songwriter, co-producer and lead vocalist Marc Farrano, Faith Circus recorded their debut album under the watchful eye of Bombay Black bass player Ty Sims. The results are maybe a little bit lighter than most of the other bands on the label, but are certainly high on melody and with a little bit of an original approach. Catchy pop-rock it may be but although it doesn’t sound particularly European, it doesn’t really sound America either. The twist seems to be provided by the lush keyboards that are well up in the mix on each track despite the band not having a keyboard player, the likes of the memorable ‘Back On Love’, the early Harem Scarem-ish ‘Rain On You’ and the catchy ‘Without Me’ would sound like completely different songs without them.

A few of the songs (‘Hold On’, ‘Half The Man’ and ‘Wasted Rainbow’ in particular) are more laid-back than I was expecting, but that just highlights Farrano’s smooth vocals and the massive harmonies. The most upbeat moments are the uplifting ‘Alive And Kickin’, whilst ‘Temporary High’ has parts that sound like Sims’ own band. There are two songs that are not only amongst the most interesting musically, but also have some interesting names involved. The superb ‘Can You Feel It’ was written by Kiss alumni Eric Carr, Bruce Kulick and Adam Mitchell, and was only ever released in demo form on Carr’s posthumous ‘Rockology’ compilation in 1999, and the great rocker ‘Tried And True’ has Farrano backed not by his own band, but by Norwegian all-stars Tore Moren (Jorn), Morty Black (TNT), Steinar Krokstad (Stage Dolls) and backing vocals by Tony Harnell.

Of all Kivel’s other releases this album reminds me most of the smooth approach of the excellent Goodbye Thrill. Faith Circus aren’t quite the finished article yet but on the strength of this album I’ll be following their career with interest.

Phil Ashcroft

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