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CirKus - Lay Lower

CirKus, Laylower

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

SWEDISH collective CirKus are difficult to pin down to any one genre. Their music offers a blend of acoustic and electric guitars, beats, scratching and a unique interplay of three very different voices.

They flirt with elements of chillout, as well as ambience, and they could well appeal to fans of acts like Portishead, Massive Attack, Sigur Ros, Cat Power, Antony & The Johnsons and Unkle. They’re not as good as any of those artists – but they are worth listening to.

Laylower is a double CD that features their debut album Laylow (previously only available in the UK at specialist outlets) and a second disc containing the same songs fleshed out (or remixed) with a live band, to include more guitars, more scratching and more production values.

The second disc is arguably the more worthwhile, frequently giving songs the kick that’s missing from the original material. Instrumentally, they’re very assured and CD2 certainly brings this out, although occasionally gets carried away. There are times when songs play out like extended jamming sessions.

Is What It Is is one example of this, on CD2, that really does chart Unkle territory – picking up a tremendous pace late on but threatening to outstay its welcome as it enters its sixth minute.

Elsewhere, songs like Cutting Out A Career feel like they’re leaning towards the blissful style of Morcheeba, albeit with more pointed social commentary.

Highlights include You’re Such An…, which doesn’t pull any punches lyrically (“I bet your drive a sports car, I bet you have a small dick”), but is still kind of fun; Time For The Whistle, which layers the vocals and acoustic guitars to satisfying effect (especially on CD2), and Fuc All The Doh, which sounds good in both versions.

As good as such moments are, though, the album often struggles to maintain the momentum and for every song that makes you sit up and take notice, there are others that go nowhere slowly and simply wash over you.

CirKus certainly have their moments but they might also just leave you feeling a little indifferent towards them.

Download picks: You’re Such An…, Time For The Whistle, Fuc All The Doh

Track listing:
Disc: 1

  1. Laylow
  2. Is What It Is
  3. Cutting Out A Career
  4. Failsafe
  5. You’re Such An..
  6. Time For The Whistle
  7. Ruff Tuff
  8. Fuc All The Doh
  9. Starved
  10. Love Can
  11. Born Again
  12. Fools
  13. Sunny Tuesday

Disc: 2

  1. Laylow
  2. Is What It Is
  3. Cutting Out A Career
  4. Failsafe
  5. You’re Such An…
  6. Time For The Whistle
  7. Ruff Turf
  8. Fuc All The Doh
  9. Starved
  10. Love Can
  11. Born Again
  12. Fools
    13. Sunny Tuesday