Released on October 7, 2016 (Streetlight Circus)
With the exception of Hessler‘s new EP Skeleton Crew, I have been guilty of listening to quite a few new albums without coming up with any reviews. One of those new records is from Streetlight Circus who with Needle Down have come up with an album which reminds me of a cross between vintage and late ’80s/early ’90s era Alice Cooper. Before you get all excited, Streetlight Circus don’t really sound like Alice Cooper and you won’t mistake frontman David Shaw‘s singing for the shock rocker’s vocal delivery in any way but the variety of songs displayed on Needle Down remind me of those classic Alice Cooper albums that were filled with many different styles all rolled into one record.
Streetlight Circus aren’t reinventing the wheel with Needle Down but provide some good time rock n’ roll mixed with strong melodies that will have you singing along or at the very least enjoying the sometimes rather simple grooves. While most of the songs are enjoyable, aside from the first single “Ghettoblaster”, there are no tracks that really stand out above the rest. Every band always thrives on writing that one anthem that they can rely upon to get them the big “pop” live and the first single “Ghettoblaster” is that anthem for Streetlight Circus. It starts off with a great riff and builds up quickly to a catchy anthemic type song that will likely be the staple in Streetlight Circus‘ live set for many years to come. At one point, I was going to write that there are too many songs on Needle Down and that trimming a few would have resulted in a stronger release. However, upon listening to it one more time for the purpose of this review, every song is a good one, although none really reach the “spectacular” goose bumping variety aside from perhaps “Ghettoblaster.”
One of my other favorites is the piano centred / faster ballad “Wait For The Night” which would have likely fit just as well on the County Crows‘ debut album August And Everything After (anyone remember those guys? — “Mr Jones” anyone?). Other highlights include the catchy “The House Is On Fire” and the upbeat and story telling “Motherlode.” What I really like about the songs on Needle Down is that the band lets the songs breathe throughout. There’s no overloading the songs with too many instruments. You can appreciate each lyric, guitar riff and melody because Streetlight Circus keep it simple while letting every note hang and get its due credit. On a side note, I first listened to Needle Down while I was driving and the sirens at the beginning of the second song “The House Is On Fire” sounded so realistic that I was looking around to see if a cop was trying to pull me over when I first heard them. Luckily, that turned out not to be the case!
Streetlight Circus have delivered a solid slab of good time rock n’ roll with enough variety to keep anyone interested. It’s not the kind of record that will knock you over on the first listen or even second listen but it’s an album that every time you listen to it, odds are you’ll notice something new that you really like that you might have overlooked beforehand. In other words, Needle Down will grow on you the more you listen to it just like those classic Alice Cooper albums that were just too good to appreciate on just one listen.
01. Needle Down
02. The House Is On Fire
04. The Sad Cafe
05. A Murder Of Crows
06. My Lucky Seven
07. Ain’t No Love Song
08. Just Another Night
09. You Get None
10. Give Up The Ghost
11. Wait For The Night
12. Airtight And Waterproof
14. Who You Are
David Shaw – lead vocals, bass guitar
Fabio Bargna – guitar, vocals
George Giannoulis – guitar, vocals
Eric Fehrenbach – drums
John Fischer – piano
Katia Floreska – vocals
Produced by Streetlight Circus
Mixed and mastered by Bob St. John
Engineered by Eric Fehrenbach
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, November 2016
Streetlight Circus‘ “Ghettoblaster” video:
STREETLIGHT CIRCUS – “Ghettoblaster” (official video) From the album Needle Down (2016) Available at: www.streetlightcircus.com, cdbaby.com, iTunes and other outlets. Video Directed by Rick Ernst Produced by Streetlight Circus Mixed by Bob St.