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Shannon: Circus of Lost Souls

Circus of Lost Souls begins with some big, "woah,a,woahs" and we immediately know that we are in an '80s type of melodic rock field. This is further re-enforced by the presence of the frankly huge power ballad "Can't Stop the Rain" I can see the video now; rain (naturally), massive-haired guitarist pulling shapes on the solo towards the end, lots of staring into the middle distance...we all know the score.

That "Can't Stop the Rain" is followed by the infinitely heavier "Don't Get Me Wrong" helps to keep the record out of the realms of parody which is good as there is a great deal to enjoy here for fans of melodic rock. "Dust to Dust" even sounds like Joacim Cans fronting an AOR band which is cool as indeed is the chorus on this one. Harry Hess (Harem Scarem), Tony Mills (Shy, TNT), Paul Sabu all help out and there's even a rocked up version of Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy" which certainly intrigued my friends when I played it to them and as ever, proved that all music is best when played in a hard rocking style.

Track Listing:
1 Ride To Live
2 Forever Now
3 Halfway To Heaven
4 Can't Stop The Rain
5 Don't Get Me Wrong
6 Dust To Dust
7 Death On The Run
8 Let's Make Rock
9 Kick It Down
10 I Don't Need You Anymore
11 In Your Eyes
12 Drive Me Crazy
13 Smalltown Boy

Added: February 22nd 2013
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2444
Language: english

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Shannon: Circus of Lost Souls
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-02-22 14:12:58
My Score:

As seems to be the way in melodic rock circles these days, bands don't split up, they merely don't release anything for five years or so, before coming back together for another crack at making it big. So next up in the stop start world of catchy hooks, memorable choruses and themes that are tried and trusted comes Shannon, who, featuring Patrice Louis (guitars), Thierry Dagnicourt (keyboards), Olivier Del Valle (ex-Jannylee - vocals), Claude Thill (bass) and Maxence Pilo (drums) first formed back in 1998, slowly building up to their self titled debut release some five years later. An EP, World Of Desire hit the shelves (back when there were shelves for an EP to hit...) in 2007, although Thill and Pilo had by that time already been replaced by Nicolas Fixy (bass) and Benjamin Bergerolle (drums), both formerly of Tai Phong. However this rhythm pair don't seem to have been in it for the long haul either, with Philippe Sassard and Jean Marc-Anzil now joining Louis, Dagnicourt and Del Valle for Shannon mark III and album number two, Circus Of Lost Souls.

Whilst decidedly late 80s and early 90s in feel, Shannon actually house quite a few different influences, with hints of Euro Melodic Rock rubbing shoulders with a heavier UK influence and Arena Rock from the USA. Not quite a cutting edge mix, nor the most original one, but to be fair, across the twelve original tracks on this album it does vary the attack enough to keep you interested. Vocalist Del Valle doesn't have the most distinctive voice, failing at times to really shine through against a smart guitar and keyboard blend that finds both instruments cutting through, yet complimenting each other well. In fact so much does the singer's slightly bland (and at times almost flat) approach detract from his surroundings that there's simply no denying that the best tracks on COLS feature guest contributions from Tony Mills (Shy/TNT), Harry Hess (Harem Scarem) and Paul Sabu. Members of Praying Mantis and Sideburn also show up to add a little nicely placed oomph behind the tracks, but even then there's still a feeling that rather than a band hitting their stride with their third outing, Circus Of Lost Souls sounds more like a group of newbies finding their feet with a debut outing. Something maybe caused by the very start stop nature from which Shannon have suffered from. As for the Shannon take on 80s synth pop in the shape of "Smalltown Boy" originally by Bronski Beat, which closes this album, well the less said the better as this faux-rock version does neither the song or the band any favours and is almost as awful in execution as it was an idea in the first place (and I quite like the original song).

Louis really is a fine guitarist, with his solo on "In Your Eyes", or his powerful riff on "Death On The Run" emphasising that point in fine style, while Dagnicourt adds atmosphere and colour through some classy keys work. However in the end pretty basic songs and the lacklustre vocals make for an album that while enjoyable, struggles to make a lasting impression. There's genuine talent in the Shannon ranks and possibly with a stronger eye for detail and a more prolific work-rate, it might get the chance to burn a little more brightly. As it is Circus Of Lost Souls is a perfectly serviceable, if hardly essential slice of melodic hard rock.

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