Faith Circus – Turn Up The Band

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Review by Brian McGowan

Melodic Rock Records

If Norwegian band Faith Circus‘s intention was to make an album that sounds like it was recorded by a US melodic Rock band in the eighties, then Turn Up The Band is a resounding success. But even with label push and heavy radio rotation it is unlikely to have troubled the Billboard charts back then. And now? The inclusion of James (HOL) Christian and Tony (TNT) Harnell as guest vocalists will gain the album attention and credibility. As will its release on the fledgling Melodic Rock.com label. But genre afficionados will have reservations, and today‘s wider rock music audience may just not see the point.

Most tracks stick closely to the unwritten formula. Polished rock riffs, squealing axework and shouty vocals all combined around interchangeable melodies. This kind of approach only works when the songwriting is high calibre and the hooks are sharp, and that’s the problem here. Only winsome ballad, ‘Tears You’ve Never Cried’ and the bouncy ‘Inside The Circus’ rise above the predictable. But even these are undercut by the turgid tones of painfully cliched material like ‘Restless Heart’ and ‘Born With The Power’. The title track, ‘Turn Up The band’ and ‘Sunshine Radio’ both strive to escape the gravitational pull of mediocrity, but elsewhere and too often, hard-working material – like ‘Love Me Dry’ and ‘Firesign’ – generates considerable heat without creating light, and overall nothing much ignites.

To their credit, the band perform with passion and enthusiasm, but it’s an otherwise sinking ship, fatally holed by an absence of fresh ideas and a dearth of strong songs. The band’s self-titled debut CD (2008) is included with Turn Up The Band. And it’s a genuine bonus, remastered and remixed, it shows off the band off as ambitious young guns, heavily armed with promising songs and the kind of close, hard hitting harmonies that seem now to have been forgotten. It has 3 extra tracks. One a duet with Robin Beck, a cover of forgettable Bond-theme song ‘For Your Eyes Only’.

If Turn Up… shows a strong Kiss influence, then the debut is modelled on Def Leppard, and while tracks like the natural, unenforced poprock of ‘Tried’n’True’ and the bittersweet sentimentality of ‘Without Me’ are clearly derivative, they show touches of honest originality.

Faith Circus 2013Disc 1: 5 out of 10

Disc 2: 7 out of 10

Track Listing – Disc 1:

  1. Restless Heart
  2. Turn Up The Band
  3. Inside The Circus
  4. Born With The Power
  5. Tears You’ve Never Cried
  6. Love Me Dry
  7. Sunshine Radio
  8. Firesign
  9. Into Your Heart
  10. Follow My Voice

Track Listing – Disc 2:

  1. Temporary High
  2. Back On love
  3. Tried’n’True
  4. Half The Man
  5. Alive & Kickin
  6. Without me
  7. Can You Feel It
  8. Rain On You
  9. Hold On
  10. Pushing Up Daisies
  11. Wasted Rainbow
  12. Heroes
  13. For Your Eyes Only (w/Robin Beck)