It took ages to review this CD. It was good. Then it was very good. Then
holy moly Mary, these guys are great! It just needed to be listened to one more time and one more
The first impression of Pomp is "Rush, with the texture and layering of the best of the '70s". But Flying Circus is no copycat, and that misleading Rush impression is largely because the vocals recall Geddy Lee or Pavlov's Dog's David Surkamp.
The title may also mislead you, because it isn't really pompous. Think of Queen without the bombast. This is thoughtfully structured music and ranges from acoustics through to hard rock and back again. Rich orchestral lines add depth to the music and occasionally build pleasing crescendos, and there is an interesting mix of retro sounds with growling Hammonds and elegant guitar solos, mixed with shifts into acoustic passages, sampled overlays, and psychedelia and with a pleasing variation from song to song. Flying Circus claims to play music that sounds like the '70s. Well their roots may be deep in that era, but this is contemporary symphonic progressive rock. There is nothing new or earth-shattering here, but it is a refreshing spin on an existing formula, with deep hooks, and it is executed beautifully.
The lyrics are introspective, a bit esoteric, and for a German band, the English language prose is remarkably well written and sung with no discernable accent. The verses have a nice rhythm, and a loose rhyme, and this is one of the few prog CDs where you will benefit from focusing on the words. For example Track #2 is called "Bedevere's Wake" Bedevere was King Arthur's last surviving knight, and the song references Lyonnesse - a mythical lost land supposed once to have connected Cornwall in the west of England with the Scilly Isles in the English Channel.
So you listen again, and again
and you focus on the music behind the excellent vocals and you ask yourself ... is it really that good? Listen one more time and it's clear that this one ought be on the top-20-of-2004 list of anyone who hears it. And there's the problem. It won't be heard by many people because Flying Circus has no label, and only one distribution channel besides their own web site. There's no question that with the right marketing, these guys would turn a profit for one of the better prog outfits.
1.Open Up 4.26
2.Bedevere's Wake 6.29
3.On The Border 7.59
4.Turn The Wheel 4.18
5.The Climb 7.54
6.The Lost 6.44
7.Carpe Noctem 4.34
8.A Messiah Marking Time 7.47
9.Shine On (A Different Kind Of Sun) 6.08
10.Care & Lust 6.02
11.Nothing To Hide 8.48