The Slambovian Circus of Dreams
A Box Of Everything (Greatest Hits)
Red River Entertainment
A Veritable Cornucopia of Musical Gems From Across The Divide.
A Greatest Hits album from a band I didn’t know really existed? Well; let me be the judge of what constitutes ‘Hits.’
To be fair I am aware of The Slambovian Circus of Dreams or Trans-Slambovian Express as they were when I received what I thought was their debut album in 2010; but it turns out they have been changing names in a mischievous manner since 1998 when they formed in ‘the misty hills of Sleepy Hollow, New York State.’
I remember the ‘mystery’ surrounding that 2010 album arriving; no sleeve notes, no track listing and no mention of who the band members where. It was ‘alluded to’ that it was a ‘famous band releasing a secret album’ and I fell for it hook, line and sinker!
That album disappeared without trace and the Tour to support it was cancelled at the last minute; all pointing to it being a huge hoax.
Yet now in 2016 the mystery unravels in a Scooby Doo manner……..these pesky kids, are all too real and probably do live in a disused fun fair.
This album; culled from an assortment of records, with some re-polished re-recordings and a studio version of a live favourite for ‘existing fans.’
Opening with Rockets; a really cool Tom Petty meets Syd Barrett slice of Alt-Country; and yet again I’m hooked like a big fat fish.
Second track is the title A Box of Everything and we leap into British Folk-Rock territory; albeit with a slight Prog feel to the mix; and by gosh it works in so many different ways; showcasing every ounce of musical talent this band have all I rolled up in four minutes.
Good Thief and A Very Unusual Head are in a sweetly similar vein; but probably recorded and written after immersing themselves in Bowie’s Hunky Dory; which is no bad thing around these here parts.
Talkin’ To The Buddha is a 9 minute minor-epic somehow combining Folk-Rock and a bit of Gipsy Jazz and ‘that’ squealing guitar solo makes it absolutely perfect.
It’s no surprise that after 18 years or so and so many changes of direction; that to the untrained ear this album could sound like a ‘hotch-potch’ but I’ve actually thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish; some songs more than others of course; but who among us wouldn’t like; nay love The Trans-Slambovian Bipolar Express; which I remember from that 2010 album – with it’s sloppy Resonator opening right through the ‘Neil Diamond fronting Guns n’ Roses’ style Rocker? If that’s not for you, you are reading the wrong blog my friend 😉
The song is an absolute belter and deserved then, as now Radio airplay from dawn to dusk…..but didn’t and won’t.
Greatest Hits closes with Alligators; the ‘fan favourite’ and the husky and atmospheric eight minutes are quite exquisite; and I can only imagine what it must sound like at a festival just as the sun sets over the yard arm when they do their ‘nod to the Beatles.
While ‘Greatest Hits’ is obviously a tongue in cheek title; the actual 14 tracks somehow do fit together like a Pop-Art jigsaw and have given me an enormous amount of pleasure in the last few weeks; even Joziah Longo aka Gandolph Murphy’s mock-Bowie ‘London’ accent.
Released USA 2015
Released UK June 2016