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...And the circus leaves town - 85%

Raw_man, February 3rd, 2003

While many of today's bands have at least 8 members with violins, fiddles, and at least two keyboards, Kyuss represented the basic approach : just pick up guitar, bass, get a drummer, add some sparse vocals and go. A music that you can actually play with your friends in a garage without enlarging it to accomodate all the band and equipment. While I don't say that this style is better than the complex one by definition, it is still good that there are bands like this. Or in case of Kyuss, sadly, were.

In my opinion, this album is their best if not by far, then by a considerable margin. I like the songs here more, as simple as that. The production is still
muddy, the sound is really basic, but that's what Kyuss were about. The vocals are somewhat less rare than on previous albums, but still there are a lot of instrumental parts, and I really respect that. Again, too many bands nowadayas afraid to add an instrumental to an album and that's a shame. Kyuss never get too technical, there are very few solos, but the rhythm is tight as a glove. Bass is audible, sometimes even more than the guitar, and the bass lines are always perfect.

And main point, some of the songs here are simply great and simple! It's not Dream Theater-like catchiness, but closer to 'Johnny B. Goode' catchiness. On some parts Kyuss sound closer to 50s spirit than Black Sabbath ever were, although it is only my opinion.

Now, to song by song breakdown :

1. Hurricane - I don't like this song so much, it doesn't stand out, and the
production here is too muddy. Although it is still kind of a good way to start an album - only the other songs are better.

2. One inch man - This is the more known song from this album, and I even saw its video on TV. That song is what Kyuss are about, really simple riff leads into the song and then the catchiness begins.

3. Thee Ol' Boozeroony - The first instrumental on the album. I really like the
riffage here and the bass is great! Again a very typical Kyuss song.

4. Gloria Lewis - A bit of a letdown. It is not much different in style from other
songs, but I just like it less. Usually I skip to the next one.

5. Phototropic - This is my favourite Kyuss song. A dreamy intro fills the first 2 minutes, with bass and guitar playing the perfect roles. Only at about 2:20 the singing begins shortly after guitar flipped on its distortion and the song is a real treat to play and to listen to. I could not say that Kyuss are heavy - I've heard too much Death Metal for that, but I can say that they are Metal. The spirit is there, and this song proves it.

6. El Rodeo - A lonely guitar begins the song with a blues lick and shortly another perfect bass line starts to accompany it. Again a great song, although here and on many other songs I have an issue with lyrics. It's stoner rock so it doesn't have to be Shakespeare, but still it should be better.

7. Jumbo Blimp Jumbo - The second instrumental, and again Kyuss don't miss the mark. Simple and good, doesn't differ much in style from the first instrumental.

8. Tangy Zizzle - I like this and the following song somewhat less - just my
personal taste.There is no change in style, I just think that the quality here
drops down somewhat.

9. Size Queen

10. Catamaran - This is another great example of a perfect bass line. Guitar begins with a clean sound strumming and bass again joins for one of the most perfect rhythms I've ever heard. I believe this songs is a cover of one of the members' previous bands. Well, it is good! Guitar gets dirty on chorus, but basically the same riffage and bass line carry this short song until the end.

11. Spaceship Landing - This is the long song of the album. I think it features the only 'proper' guitar solo, and it is a great way to finish things. It is not as
catchy as the previous songs, and Kyuss are definitely not the masters of the epic songwriting, but it is really good. They could not refrain themselves from messing a bit with a hidden track, but that can be forgiven.

In short, a stoner rock/Metall classic, and the best Kyuss album!

Highlights : One inch man, Thee Ol' Boozeroony, Phototropic, El Rodeo, Jumbo Blimp Jumbo, Catamaran