Faith Circus - 'Turn Up The Band'

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Faith Circus - 'Turn Up The Band'

Pure unadulterated nostalgia.

This sophomore release may come as a surprise to some who thought Faith Circus had split for good after one self-titled release on Kivel Records back in 2008. A very promising debut full of big harmonies on the backing vocals, with infectiously catchy choruses that had AOR fans dribbling with delight, and the talented Marius Morch producing magic with his strings. Fast forward to the present and Morch, sadly, is no longer with the band, although he did record this album before departing. His place has been taken by H.K. Rein who was spotted on YouTube playing in a covers band whilst bassist Lasse Koester is also missing, his place being taken by Christer Ottesen.

Led by vocalist Marc Farrano with Baard Nordvik still occupying the drum stool, this is a slightly harder edged and faster paced Faith Circus. Gone is the ultra-smooth clean sheen AOR replaced by an equally infectious groove and catchy sound, but imbued with a more old school Rock 'n' Roll vibe that Farrano insists was always there. Morch has eschewed that eighties melodic guitar sound so well yet still has those classic riffs that propel the opening hard-driving 'Restless Heart' and classic fist-pumping title track 'Turn Up The Band' forward. Nordvik and Ottesen have a huge sounding rhythm that Thomas Haugland has captured and in conjunction with the guys, mixed really well. The incomparable Dennis Ward has added his magic during the mastering process and what you have is a very snappy and crisp sound that captures Faith Circus' energy, particularly on the powerful 'Born With The Power' that is a glorious amalgam of Dokken and Ratt – a real chest thumping Metal anthem that had me swinging my imaginary mike stand around in my living room and believing I was singing in front of a sold out Wembley Arena!

'Inside The Circus' is equally adept at stirring the emotions, full of beautiful melodic guitar, punchy and pacy riffs and tremendously catchy to boot! Elsewhere you have the breezy Americana style of 'Sunshine Radio' and 'Into Your Heart' and the heavy riff-tastic 'Firesign' with an underpinning 70s Hammond going on. The ballad 'Tears You've Never Cried' is emotive and very well written, with Farrano able to showcase his gravelly vibrato, lower register and clean upper alto register to great effect.

This album didn't grab me first time round but am I glad I kept playing it as each play has revealed more and more of its depth. Some may consider it generic but so what! Most of us grew up on this kind of stuff and it's what's shaped our lives today. Pure unadulterated nostalgia. When it's this catchy, this well played and sung, and this well produced who gives a flying monkey's? Born with the power indeed!

Carl Buxton

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