Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Circus At The End Of The World Album Review

Abney Park has long been known as the "essential Steampunk band." Starting with their Lost Horizons album, their music has been themed (both musically and lyrically) after the fascinating Steampunk genre and (more specifically) their fictional, post-apocalyptic Steampunk world in which they portray themselves as airship pirates. From deep, philosophical songs to just plain bouncy and fun, Abney Park covers a wide variety of flavors with their quirky, vintage sound. 

Not very long ago (September 14th according to iTunes), Abney Park released their newest album: The Circus At The End Of The World. Here's the album art: 

Final Verdict: 5/5
Standout Tracks: The Anthropophagists' Club, Dominion Of Dust, Katyusha
Abney Park carries on with their oh so familiar (yet oh so sweet) sound with this new release. Quirky yet fun, this album will easily find it's place among any Abney Park or Steampunk fan's music library, and probably more than that. Abney Park maintains the vintage "oldness" of past albums, but wraps it in a layer of circus-themed bounciness. 

This new location (and theme) within their world allows for plenty of new opportunities for storytelling and songwriting. You get to see a couple new, interesting aspects of Abney Park's music and hear old sides of them as well. The mix is done well, I think. 

The opening track, which also happens to be the title track, paints an interesting picture (using the circus) of phony people (carnies) without being entirely vocally dependent and manages to be a fun opening to the album. Other fun songs are "The Anthropophagists' Club" and "Buy The Captain Rum." Both of which return to classic Abney Park styles, both "vintage Steampunk" and "Steampunk flavored pirate" respectively. 

A sub-theme of the album seems to be finding oneself; for example, the song "Blowing Off Steam" presents various carnies while the singer (representing a character) questions what to do with himself among the changing crowd. "Life's The Thing" picks up the pace a little bit, and (however ironically) discusses adventure and reality. "Follow Me If You Want To Live" and "Rise Up" portray (with both an old-day pop and epic industrialist sound, respectively) escaping from captivity (particularly that of circumstances). 

"Not Silent," "Scheherazade," and "Dominion Of Dust" all conjure up a sort of updated version of Abney Park's classic sound. "Dominion of Dust" being the most updated (while still familiar), with violin and guitar accompanying Robert and Jody's epic vocals. The last three songs o the album sees Abney Park's more romantic side; with "Katyusha" being an old Russian folk song redone wonderfully. (You really get to hear Jody sing, which is sadly rare.) "In Time" slows things down with a saddening touch to them, while the album's finisher, "Rosie & Max," presents an island-y feel, which is a relaxing accompaniment to the intriguing and cute lyrics. 

Abney Park just refuses to disappoint. With every new release, they carry on that "Abney Park flair" that permeates every album. Something about the Victorian but modern sound and the intriguing vocals just seems to stick. I tried to find a reason not to like this album (like the circus theme), but every time you listen to it you just grow more and more fond. The circus theme is supremely entertaining and the songs mingle well with the rest of Abney Park's collection when you leave it on shuffle. 

I have to give Abney Park's The Circus At The End Of The World a five out of five for everything it does. It delves into interesting and sometimes rather deep topics while primarily remaining fun and bouncy. I can just imagine well dressed Victorian guys and gals dancing to half of the songs here, and the other half are too compelling to simply ignore. Abney Park has once more created magic in music.