THE HUNTING CIRCUS - Smile (EP)

 

SAMANTHA LLOYD

 

THE HUNTING CIRCUS are an alt-rock trio from the Midlands, put together from the remnants of 2 previous bands, Party In Paris and Forever Can Wait, and since forming in 2016 they have been performing live and writing their debut EP ‘Smile’, recorded at The Ranch in Southampton with Neil Kennedy (Funeral For a Friend, Creeper). Having caught them at a live show at the Soundhouse in Leicester in November 2017 and talking to the guys about their forthcoming EP, I was eager to hear what their studio recording would offer. I have to admit, I wasn’t disappointed.

 

‘Smile’ is full of catchy lyrics and the easily recognisable vocals from Jack Betts, the kind that are distinctive, that stand out against the norm, edgy and full of character that boasts alt-rock and draws you in for more. The tracks are going to hook you in and when lyrics like “When life gives you lemons make lemonade, throw them at your enemies” - taken from ‘White Lies’ - start rolling out you know you’ve got to keep listening to see what other great little phrases THC are going to churn out. I’m pretty sure I saw that phrase on a Facebook post somewhere?

 

The intro, aptly named ‘Intro’ is a short 24 seconds of teaser style building music that leads straight into ‘White Lies’, a hugely enjoyable track, the drums of Toby Leonard strong and thunderous as Jack Betts fills your ears with his distinctive range of vocals that soar, his riffs solid while the thrumming bass from Rich Mac fill in the gaps and powers the track through some insanely engaging riffs. An awesomely addictive track to kick off the EP.

 

‘Ghost!’ the first single to be released for the EP starts with a mid-tempo guitar intro before the heavier bass and drums kick in and lift the tempo. The lyrics again are catchy, the bridge sections are heavily captivating, holding your attention while the lyrical content is littered with a maturity that some seasoned bands struggle to find. The track dips towards the end and Betts vocals hit a screeching high that I wasn’t expecting but nonetheless I find myself hitting repeat for the fourth time before I decide to move on to the next track.

 

‘Witches’ has a deeper tone throughout, a slower beat with the vocals of Betts rising and falling throughout the track in perfect unison with the instruments, each layer of sound complementing the other. The lighter feel to the guitar at the beginning section of the track adding a delicate touch before the track really kicks in and the pummelling drums of Leonard really bring the track up a notch, the sturdy beat propelling the track along with Mac on the bass holding off slightly through the beginning section before a heaviness hits and the track really takes off. The track takes a sudden rise in tempo halfway through before dropping back into the slightly slower tempo again. A great track with a nice variation to keep you listening til the very end.

 

‘Dance’ has a grooving bass intro, the drums accompanying perfectly, the guitar of Betts sliding in and then those distinctive vocals kick in. The backing vocals from Mac and Leonard adding a nice depth to the track that’s about meeting someone on a night out in town and never believing that someone like that would look your way, that is until you realise you’re suddenly in a taxi heading home with them. The chorus is once again catchy, the rhythm is infectious and I love how there’s such a variety in both rhythm and tempo, slowing down, speeding up and the repetition of the lyrics means that I’m not going to get this song out of my head for a long time; a good song really should stick in your head like that shouldn’t it. Great track, one of my faves on the EP.

 

Finishing off the EP is ‘Priorities’, the most recent single release available for download now at the usual places. For me this is the best track on the EP. The lyrics, “I fell in love with the music, it doesn’t mean I can’t love you too, but don’t go thinking you can make me choose...” really hits the spot for me. Betts seems so sincere on this track, not that he doesn’t connect emotionally with all the tracks on the EP but his softer vocals that are then countered with strong, intense vocals seem so much more evocative than previous songs. Again, as with the other tracks on the album, the rhythm shakes it up, the tempo rising and falling, the transitions between them really makes this song a memorable one. The drums are loud and heavy and the bass purrs below the surface, every second of this track just holds my attention in the best way possible. Perfect! And hit repeat...

 

For a three piece band there really isn’t any loss in musical depth as the three lads really do fill every inch of track time with the right amount of everything; quiet, subtler moments where they are needed, pauses, lifts in tempo, drops in tempo, dynamic and engaging riffs, intense then soft vocals, and solid heavy bass and drums that just make the whole EP so enjoyable to listen to.

 

If you’re looking for feel good energetic alt-rock and lyrically complex, mature delivery with engaging content then make sure that when The Hunting Circus’s EP ‘Smile’ drops on the 9th March you aren’t the last one to pick up your copy. #JoinTheCircus

Track Listing:

Intro

White Lies

Ghost!

Witches

Dance

Priorities

 

The Hunting Circus are:

Jack Betts – Vocals and guitar

Rich Mac – Bass and backing vocals

Toby Leonard – Drums and backing vocals

 

For more details, and to keep up to date with the bands live events, follow The Hunting Circus on Social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheHuntingCircus/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/huntingcircus

Instagram: https://instagram.com/@thehuntingcircus

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