Breaking Circus – The Very Long Fuse (1985)
After insisting that everyone in 1980s Chicago did not, in fact, use the same drum machine, along comes Breaking Circus’s first EP to taint my credibility, yet again. The Roland TR-606 makes another appearance in the Midwest noise rock scene, leading me to believe that either everyone thought it sounded really sweet or was too lazy to find a reasonable drummer. Although I like the sound quite a bit when applied to those bands, it makes it a hell of a lot more difficult to not just say “sounds like Big Black!” immediately upon hearing this record. Well, I’m here to prove to you that Breaking Circus does not sound exactly like Big Black, but brings a much more melodic, yet MANLY SOUNDING (you’re relieved, right?) set of songs on The Very Long Fuse.
I say manly sounding, because this definitely has that sing-speak “I’m a steelworker, I kill what I eat” Chicago thing going on, and I hate anyone with feelings. However, there’s a little bit more than that occurring here, as evident in the second track, “(Knife in the) Marathon,” which seems to be fairly heartfelt, incorporates what seems to be an acoustic guitar, and according to the moderately deceitful Wikipedia, somewhat of a college radio hit. This is immediately followed by the atmospheric, keyboard-heavy “Lady in the Lake,” which stands out mostly due that, because the vocals are still in that manly speakin’ thing! Amazing.
These two tracks are the most extreme departures from what you would expect from an album with cover work by Steve Albini, but that’s not to say some of these mechanics aren’t worked into the other, more (Chicago) punky sounding songs. I’d like to say more, but I think I’ve said “Chicago punk” and “manly” far too many times already, but if you’re into that sort of thing, The Very Long Fuse is very (LOL) worth checking out. Just don’t expect it to BLOW YOUR MIND, unless your mind is blown by something being unexpectedly enjoyable.
SIDE NOTE: I have two full lengths on deck in my mind to review next, so my next two updates (at least) shouldn’t take eight years to be posted like this one.
Break your circus all over the place with this link: