Remember [a]Subcircus[/a], a band piqued by glamour who soared artistically above their peers while divebombing commercially? Well, here comes their second assault on the pop consciousness, after spending the last two years licking their wounds and supporting spiritual polar opposites Stereophonics.
Frontman PB Jr still captivates, an unabashed star-in-waiting, preening before his band of pretty boys. It’s in the way he carries himself, no swaggering ego, but a telling faux-modesty in its place. And his voice is as divine as before, a soaring falsetto with an emotional as well as technical range shaming the current crop of wannabe-Yorkes, a textural vocal, deeply evocative and thoroughly enchanting.
However, much of the new material seems worryingly pedestrian. A couple, ‘Seconds’ for instance, stretch out and sprawl luxuriantly like before, special and aware of it. Some of the set, though, grasps at a perhaps more sellable flavour of rock ordinaire, the alluring kinks and compelling drama erased in favour of a lumpen stomp.
They need to recover the confidence, the momentum that propelled them so far beyond their pack before. A sublime closing ’86d’ hints at the glories within their reach, at what they could still yet achieve. Here’s hoping.