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Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams

The Great Unravel

(High Noon; US: 5 Aug 2008; UK: 8 Aug 2008)

Yes, that’s really what they call themselves. But after you’ve dragged yourself, beaten and bloodied, through all of those fourteen syllables, you’ll be presently surprised to find an entirely enjoyable easy-listening folk-rock band. You may well be left scratching your head at the specious claims to the psychedelic, particular upon consideration of frontman Joziah Longo’s dead-on Jon Bon Jovi impersonation on opener “Desire” (certainly not a U2 cover, that one) and the cornball “Everyone Has a Broken Heart”. The dreamier “Tink (I Know It’s You)” does indeed suggest Pink Floyd, and both “Summer’s Day” and “Bobby’s Kinda Dumb” wear their Syd Barrett appreciation on their sleeves. But the swirling kaleidoscope is a smokescreen; this Circus is best when it’s sad and lonesome, as on “Julia” (not a Beatles cover, that one, but worthy of the association) and the sonically-superb “Pushin’ Up Daisies”. Likeable, but misguided.

Rating:

Ross Langager has been contributing music reviews to PopMatters since early 2008. He has a BA (Honors) in English and a MA in English, both from the University of Alberta in Edmonton. He lives in Toronto, Ontario. He also writes a blog at http://rosslangager.com/ .


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Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams - Pushin' Up Daisies (Live)
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