* "Catamaran" is a cover song, originally by Yawning Man.
* "Day One" was a song intended for the surviving members of Nirvana, since the album was released in 1995 after Kurt Cobain's death.
[quote=Guy's Review] Hurricane / One Inch Man / Thee Ol' Boozeroony / Gloria Lewis / Phototropic / El Rodeo / Jumbo Blimp Jumbo / Tangy Zizzle / Size Queen / Catamaran / Spaceship Landing
...And the Circus Leaves TownKYUSS-LITE. That's what they say, at least, and it's not hard to find out why. Just open your copy of …and the Circus Leaves Town (or get the shiny vinyl out of the sleeve) and play the first song. It's 2 minutes and 42 seconds long, it's fast (to their standard, at least), catchy (even though it's hard to make out Garcia's vocals with the extremely bass-heavy sound) and unlike anything they recorded before (on top of that, it's my girlfriend's favorite Kyuss-song, and that implies a lot). It's lighter, but that song-title is still appropriate: just check out the fuzzed-out guitar tone and Reeder's elephantine bass playing throughout the song, and basically the whole album: smashing. For some reason, the band moved away from the heavy psychedelic jam-based sound that combined trippy sections with crushing riffs, as most of these songs are shorter (seven songs are around or shorter than 4 minutes), tighter and perhaps even mellower. Whereas Blues and Sky Valley were the aural equivalents of an afternoon in the desert, Circus is the nocturnal counterpart to those albums, offering more escapes from gargantuan bludgeoning and a sound palette that's more diverse. "One Inch Man," for instance, would never have appeared on any of the earlier albums. Carried by bass and drums, it's one of the funkiest things the band has ever recorded, with snappy vocals and muted guitar playing, but when they get to that chorus, it's basically another hurricane you're hearing, the sound of a vacuum cleaner from hell. With Brant Bjork gone and, by consequence, also the fruitful relationship between the drummer and Josh Homme, some of the chemistry and maniacal intensity got lost (although Hernandez did an excellent job at replacing Bjork), but it gives Homme more room to experiment with styles and sounds. On instrumental "Thee Ol' Boozeroony" and the ridiculously cool "El Rodeo" for instance, he introduces melodies that almost sound as if they have a Middle-eastern roots. It's great how he starts from this one silly repeated riff and gradually builds it up for two minutes (the bass-line that's added is one hell of an addition) and then kicks off this led-heavy, relentless second part. Even though this album sounds tighter than the previous two, Kyuss was still very much a playing/jamming band instead of a song-oriented band: "Gloria Lewis" basically continues the same riff, drum patters and bass-line for four minutes, but the way in which Garcia's vocals keep on intensifying (that would also become a trademark of his style with Unida and Hermano), and go from almost a whisper to balls-out roar, is pure class. This simplified rock-approach doesn't always work that well, as the band occasionally neglects the fact that the riffs they're repeating aren't always that interesting. "Phototropic,' for instance, starts off with some of those gentle, almost "watery" soundscapes that are a nice diversion from the monolith riffs. But, the problem is that when it segues into the heavy part halfway the song, it never really gets going. The same could basically be said about "Size Queen", which starts off in awesome fashion with fine vocals and a mid-tempo rock groove, but then descends into monotonous pummelling. However, the album's second part also holds a few surprises in store: instrumental "Jumbo Blimp Jumbo" would've fitted nicely on Sky Valley, while the brief "Tangy Zizzle" is a song that dozens bands would pillage and build a career on. Finally, the album's best moments come at the end: "Catamaran" is a wonderful cover of a Yawningman-song (that band being an early project of stoner guru Mario Lalli) that walks the thin line between melodic melancholy and crushing force, with great performance by Garcia; while "Spaceship Landing" is stoner as most people prefer it: stretched-out psych with throbbing a bass-line, pummelling drums and self-indulgent guitar antics. Like Blues and Sky Valley, this album also has a hidden track, allegedly called "Day One" and written by Reeder as a tribute to Kurt Cobain. While it's certainly too filler-ish to be considered a proper album track, it's more, uhm, interesting than "Lick My Doo" or "Yeah." Lacking the monolithic vibe of their peak work, Circus nevertheless contains some interesting detours that prove the band would've been capable of releasing more worthwhile material if it weren't for the fact that internal tensions and a lack of recognition (both are cited as causes) would lead the band to break up a bit later. Though mainstream recognition eluded them at the time, Kyuss is nowadays considered to be one of the most influential bands of the 90's and one of the true forefathers of all things stoner and related. Looking back on the albums they recorded with Chris Goss, it's not hard to understand why.[/quote]