2020 was a good year in no-one’s book. The only thing we clung to was that we hoped the artists would create great music, so when the world re-opened and Covid decided it was bored and went away these same artists could perform what they had created in this very quiet time.
Circus 66 are a great band; we already knew that. I was lucky enough to introduce them on the stage in Reading in 2019 so I knew first-hand what they could deliver. But a debut album is a whole different kettle of fish. But as the world is beginning to re-open Circus 66 finally released their debut album. And physically, so we could touch, feel, and smell the product in hand. First spoiler alert, it does not smell like the band. Second spoiler alert, the album does NOT disappoint.
Circus 66 consists of Matt Pearce, Leigh Holley, Luke Ward and Annabelle Zaychenko. The fantastic four, if you will. Again, let me re-instate they are dynamite live. But does Follow the Black Crow deliver. In one word – yes. In two words – hell yes.
Take A Shot opens up proceedings, opens the front door and lets the rock flood through the house of rock n roll. Jekyll or Hyde soon follows. For those regular listens to my radio show know that this is a staple. It’s a cracker of a tune, with an exceptionally catchy hook and a solid timeless sound.
A Thousand Miles From Home and Prince of California gracefully greet us next. Both exceptional tracks which both showcase Annabelle’s vocal range along with Matt’s guitar know how, Luke’s bass power and Leigh’s stick tricks. It takes a certain type of band to showcase the musicianship and deliver belting tunes. Circus 66 are such a band.
Monster was another single and another staple for my weekly radio rock show. A real chunky deep growl of a song which gets better after every listen. Secret Medicine is an absolute gem and in any other album would be the stand-out song of it. Where many albums dip in the middle to re-group and end strong, Follow The Black Crow remains constant – remains at peak performance. If it was a movie star it would be Tom Cruise. Relentless, beautiful, charming yet slightly unnerving. Racing The Reaper gallops on the heals of Light The Fuse, again a pair of songs that showcase not only Annabelle’s voice which is up there with the best of them but the rest of the band’s musicianship and writing skills.
The album slows down and gives our ears and soul a hug, caressing our ossicles and smothering us with Where I Belong. Simply brilliant.
The last time I saw this band was only last month. I had not heard the album yet but was utterly pleased what I was hearing. Then they played their last track. When The Black Crow Flies. As a radio presenter I have to be careful about the length of the songs I play. It’s not law but in my experience some long songs can be self-indulgent. Which is understandable. But still, self-indulgent they can be. When The Black Crow Flies is anything but self-indulgent. Beautiful, powerful and anthemic – yes. It’s an absolute journey of a song that will pick you up and transport you to different worlds in different listens. When The Black Crow Flies is here to stay. When they play this at Wembley the audience will roar. I witnessed Circus 66 finish their set with this. Epic!
All in all, a beautiful crafted, cleverly written and perfectly executed album.
Do yourself a favour. Buy Follow The Black Crow. Go see Circus 66. And realise the world is full of hidden treasures.
Article by Pete K Mally (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pete-K-Mally/e/B085FQLTG9%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share)
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