Rocking Horse Music Club -
Circus Of Wire Dolls

(2CD 2022, 50:56/ 44:05, Planegroovy PLGCD003)

The tracks:
  1- Prologue: Riverside(3:49)
  2- Circus Of Wire Dolls(8:45)
  3- Packed Up (featuring Noel McCalla)(3:28)
  4- Senseless Sky(2:46)
  5- Animate In 5/8
       (featuring Noel McCalla & Caroline Carter)
  6- To Reach The Other Side(2:58)
  7- Will You Be My Downfall? (featuring Caroline Carter)(3:52)
  8- So Little Left (featuring Tim Bowness)(3:58)
  9- It's Not About You(4:05)
10- Trapeze Waltz (featuring Amy Birks)(4:14)
11- Burn (featuring Caroline Carter)(4:41)
12- Cut From A Different Cloth (featuring Chris Difford)(4:06)
  1- Face Of Rain(4:00)
  2- 300(4:54)
  3- SY22(5:15)
  4- Lost A Piece Of Me(1:28)
  5- House Party At Jack's(1:58)
  6- Flowers In November(4:00)
  7- Every Show Must End (featuring Noel McCalla)(7:59)
  8- All Shall Be Well (featuring Evelyn Cormier)(4:04)
  9- Circus Waltz (featuring David Cross)(4:03)
10- Coda: Slide Down The Cellar Door(6:21)

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Circus Of Wire Dolls, weird title by the way, is the third album of the American prog rock band Rocking Horse Music Club. Circus is a concept album, better said a rock opera, dealing with a man who creates a miniature circus out of wire, string and cloth,; yep that really is what this album is about.... Besides the Rocking Horse members a couple of guest musicians such as Noel McCalla (vocals), Tim Bowness (No Man), David Cross (ex-King Crimson), Kenwood Dennard (ex-Brand X) and John Hackett (flute) play and sing on Circus Of Wire Dolls.

The album is a double disc set featuring twenty-two songs and it is prog music with lots of other musical influences like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Genesis, David Bowie, Queen and even Tears For Fears or The Cars. The prologue/overture Riverside is a good start of this album, featuring rich organ sounds and a melodic pedal steel guitar chorus, followed by the epic, clocking in over eight minutes, title track, which stands out due to the long and excellent instrumental passages. Circus Waltz, being an instrumental one, is another highlight of this album, while the impressive Face Of Rain reminds me of RPWL. Senseless Sky is one of the proggiest tracks here and It's Not About You is rather raw and wild. However I am not very fond of the vocals of Justin Cohn and/or Brian Coombes, as they are way too cheesy and sweet, sometimes even bittersweet and they kind of remind me of singers in a musical; just listen to Every Show Must End and you will catch my drift, as that track could emerge from Les Miserables.... But, then again, there is a lot to enjoy here and the musicianship is truly awesome at most times, but one might ask, listening to the last song Coda Slide Down The Cellar Door is it rock, is it pop, is it prog?

Just check it out yourself, I guess you might like it indeed! Listening tip: Face Of Rain or the title track.

***+ Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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