Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Shirk Circus - This Band Will Destroy Your Life (2011, Dromedary) - A brief overview

The passing of Shirk Circus frontman Josh Silverman in February of this year is not likely to go down as the biggest music casualty of 2011 - not by a longshot in fact, but for those in his inner circle, and the countless others who were aficionados of this unheralded New Jersey power trio who were predominantly a mid-1990s proposition, I'm sure his loss is intense nonetheless.  Despite having reformed for some reunion shows in 2010, Shirk Circus hadn't been on my radar since the release of their 1994 debut Words to Say.  Back then, if an album failed to illicit an almost visceral response with yours truly, I didn't necessarily denounce it or sell it back to the store, rather I relegated it to the back burner, or in the case of Words to Say, let it sit dormant for a good many years.  Upon revisiting it recently (i.e. as recent as this weekend, in fact) I found it's allure much more irresistible that at first blush from seventeen years prior.  That album could have easily been the product of the north Midwest indie corridor, or for that matter Chapel Hill, NC with it's raw, sinewy guitar fills and Josh's nonchalant indie aesthetic that was so prevalent during that era.  My loss that I failed to pay more attention to it when it was current. 

Fast forward to 2007 when Shirk Circus decided to revisit and complete an album's worth of basic tracks laid down in 1996, for what was apparently to be their third album.  That record, eleven years in the making (ok, so there was just a slight hiatus in between those years) has finally surfaced.  Sonically, This Band Will Destroy Your Life hardly sounds like a fifteen year-old artifact. You can chalk much of that up to the band's overall proficiency, and ever so gradual maturity.  Ironically, they were charting a very similar trajectory to two of their Clinton-era contemporaries, Fig Dish and Small 23.  Just as those less-than-household recognizable power chord merchants were on the verge of calling it a day, so were Shirk Circus.  This Band... sports a leaner, cleaner modus operandi than it's predecessor albums, without kicking any significant amount of spunk or momentum to the curb.  This Band Will Destroy Your Life is available wherever records and tapes are sold...but I'd get it direct from Dromedary Records.

1 comment:

Brushback said...

Josh Silverman put out a single late in the '90s under the name "Plus Tax" -- I still have it and it's pretty good.