Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams: The Great Unravel

[13 October 2008]

By Ross Langager

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.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/gandalf-murphy-and-the-slambovian-circus-of-dreams-the-great-unravel/