ALBUM OF WEEK 4: …AND THE CIRCUS LEAVES TOWN

circus leaves town

I’ve just discovered that, inexplicably, there isn’t any album by Kyuss commented here up to date. I’d even say it’s unacceptable I had allowed this to happen, thus first of all I’d like to apologize and amend my mistake immediately.

I wouldn’t spend so many cheap words into something meaningless, but Kyuss is one of these bands which back in the day also left a mark on me.

I’m not 100% sure of having explained the way I got acquainted with this band from Palm Desert, so briefly I will give the credit to my friend and also a great artist EvilMrSod, who used to record albums in cassette almost 20 years ago, and he sent me three tapes with one of the holiest (stoner) rock trilogy in my life: Blues for the Red Sun, Welcome to Sky Valley,…And the Circus Leaves Town.  Inevitably Kyuss drove me crazy and managed to earn all my attention, but sadly they broke up too soon.

These guys had something special, a combination of many features which turn them into something genuine, unique. As usual, everybody highlights John Garcia’s powerful voice and the amazing riffs created by wonder boy Josh Homme, but their legacy and future influence over many musicians and rock lovers are beyond them. Drums by both Brant Bjork and Alfredo Hernandez marked a difference, Scott Reeder’s bass lines merging perfectly with drums and guitars, building a heavy and solid body of sound, their style moving from pure heavy metal to progressive rock, the simplicity of some of their compositions facing other complex pieces…

For long time I used to be obsessed with understanding the lyrics, till Ben Ward  said “who the fuck cares about their lyrics when they play awesome?”. That was the end of the discussion. He was right after all. Years later, let’s say lyrics aren’t their strength nor key for their music.

I’m experiencing a kind of stoner revival lately thanks to bands such as Orange Goblin, or my last two discoveries: Baroness and Clutch (finally, after some friends talking wonders for years. This new decade seems to bring back the essential stoner, closer to classic metal, separating from the doom tendency predominating  years ago. Thus, with this thought, first I paid my respects to the great Lullabies to Paralyze, and then I stepped back further to Down on The Upside.

It was just a matter of time Kyuss came to mind, thinking of the impact they had on me back in the day. Musically speaking, they meant the end of the Seattle sound chapter, and the starter for the stoner rock, which lasted several years too, sharing their hegemony with the Scandinavian punk rock bands. It’s overwhelming to think of certain bands as the beginning/end of different musical eras, huh? At the end of the day they also mark stages in life.

Kyuss

With memories and ideas twisting in my head I went straight to the CD shelves and chose my favorite album by Kyuss, which is …And the Circus Leaves Town. Love its title, by the way.  It’s one of my Winter albums. It spreads a scent of coldness and abandon hard to explain, which evokes the dead season.

Whenever I say  it’s their best album, diehard fans react surprised as Blues For The Red Sun is considered the best. Gotta say one of the reasons I got a bit tired of Kyuss has to do with their radical defenders. Narrow minded, too obsessed monothematic. You know what I mean,  for them John Garcia close to be a Messiah. Too boring!

…And The Circus Leaves Town is probably one of their most complete albums, combining trademark killing riffs in One Inch Man, lysergic passages such as in Catamaran or Phototropic, powerful in crescendo tracks such as the amazing Rodeo, those unique Hernandez’s drums in Hurricane or Thee Ol’ Boozeroony

But there’s a song I will never get tired of, which probably reflects the essence Kyuss at its best. It’s the fascinating Spaceship Landing, including a sequence of different parts, plenty of fuzz, riffs and solos, effects in voice, repetition, cymbals… so many details, one time is never enough to discover new things. I can easily imagine these guys playing this song at night in the middle of the desert, enjoying the effects of some heavy weed and perhaps some other downer, just allowing the music flow. So good…

Fate is tough and unpredictable. Josh Homme achieved stardom with QOTSA, Garcia the leader and one of the most charismatic frontmen in the last 20 years is doomed to start and eventually abandon every single project he’s gets involved with, and for some awkward reason, Hernandez plays for minor musicians keeping us deprived of his awesome skills. How come Kyuss was always a band for minorities? Some of the bands inheriting their legacy  however, are quite popular.

Anyway, sometimes it’s necessary to recover some classic albums I have to, and feel really good when I do it, because these records, already to be considered part of my life, bring back lots of past memories. This time it’s been greater, coming with this feeling of the stoner rock more alive than ever. Yeah, I dig!

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