Review: Gallows Circus – ‘EP II’

Went to McDonald’s earlier. Got a Chicken Legend with Cool Mayo meal, large of course, bag – yes, total cost; £5.44. To be honest, it wasn’t the best, the box had been put in upside down and the burger itself had fallen out, fries were a bit meh. Still ate it mind you. Should have just avoided it and opted instead for the healthier choice of investing in ‘EP II’, the cunningly titled second EP from Kent-based outfit Gallows Circus. Would have been cheaper.

Yes, for the measly sum of £5 you can pur-chase this six-track EP, and instead of giving money to some faceless corporation, you can help keep the Gallows Circus wheels turning. That works out at just over 0.55p per track. Christ man, a fucking Freddo bar is 30p, and ‘EP II’ lasts a tad longer than a Freddo!

So six tracks, if you want to be pedantic then it’s five songs as ‘Hell’s Whiskey’ is featured twice, although it takes a few listens to work out why there is a clean version included. This particular beauty kicks the EP off in fine style with a gentle build-up, complete with an atmospheric, dust-bowl guitar feel. The intro suggests that Gallows Circus might opt down a Southern rock path, but that disappears when the main body of the song crashes in with a modern rock vibe. ‘Hells Whiskey’ has hooks a-plenty, not just vocal hooks, but the short, sharp guitar hooks peppered throughout the breakdown, just before the main solo, are more contagious than a handrail in the North East of England. This continues on the towering ‘Medicine Man’ where the warm, fuzzy guitar licks help give it some real bite. There is a really cool change in pace around the 2.30 minute-mark when guitarist Ben Attwood unleashes a killer bluesy guitar tone that comes out of the leftfield. One of those moments which causes the listener to pause what they are doing and revel in the Gary Moore-like vibes. No time to get too carried away though as it’s straight into ‘Who Cares’ which begins with a pulsating drum sound from Steve Kitchener and groovy bass lines from Richard Tunbridge. Vocalist Ian Day has an intriguing voice. Very, very clean vocals, at times almost like John Waite fronting a kickass rock band, other times a hint of a Jay Buchanan influence, or in the case of ‘Who Cares’: both.

‘Bring Your Crucifix’ is a beefy fucker with the boys in the engine room team locking into an almighty groove. A little bit of an Alter Bridge-meets-Soundgarden vibe musically, especially on the muscular riffage from Ben Attwood. Like some of the tracks leading up to it, ‘Bring Your Crucifix’ features multiple changes in pace and direction that do come out of nowhere. It’s always nice when a track provides a few surprises and there is plenty of that on ‘EP II’. ‘Hunt You Down’ is another slow-burning moment, a gentle acoustic-driven intro that soon springs to life with short explosive bursts of music, before settling back down again, only to spring to life again. Damn it is one hell of a catchy choon.

If the purpose of an EP is to whet the appetite whilst the full-length album is bubbling under, then ‘EP II’ certainly achieves that. Bring on the debut album I say, and some Freddo’s…

Available September 25th, pre-order ‘EP II’ here.

Review – Dave

Photo – Dorothy Clarke

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