Ring masters2 min read . Updated: 14 Mar 2016, 01:04 AM IST
Alt-rock band The Circus reveal greater maturity in their third album
Defying conventions is all in a day’s work for The Circus, an indie rock band from Delhi. But it’s not just an act. Blithely fusing genres, forgoing time-tested verse-chorus formulas, or avoiding unnecessary solos, the band likes to put the spotlight on the songs themselves.
The Circus was formed in 2007 under unusual circumstances. It was drummer Anshul Lall, now 29, who put up a request on Orkut, when he was looking for a band to play with. Guitarist Arsh Sharma, 28, replied and the line-up was completed by bassist Abhinav Chaudhary, 27, and vocalist Abhishek Bhatia, 28.
Earlier this month, The Circus released With Love, their third album, following From Space (2010) and Bats (2013). Being a guitar band, Circus is in its element at incendiary live shows. But right from the start, the group has shown a liking for textured songs that owe a lot to electronic music. With Love is no different in that respect, but the band has forged a different sound that sidesteps the frenetic nature of their previous albums. The crunching guitar riffs and rumbling bass lines are still there, but most songs present a measured approach.
“The earlier stuff was impulsive, written together in a jam room," Sharma says. “This album is deliberated, with a lot of thinking going into the guitar parts, drum parts and the vocals. It’s a lot more of a studio album. The grooves and tempos are also slightly slower—more like a river than a waterfall."
In the three years that The Circus took to release their new album, the band members pursued individual projects. Sharma and Srijan Mahajan (Parikrama’s drummer) formed the electronic duo FuzzCulture. Bhatia has his own electronic project, Curtain Blue, while Chaudhary and Lall play in Ioish, a post-rock band. “We have stumbled upon a sound that we like and it’s almost like putting out a first album," Sharma says, “You can detect the post-rock influences in the slower grooves; the electronics is subtle but present throughout the album."
The seven-track album begins with Not Yet Dinosaurs, about the “frustrations of being in a band". Lions And Wolves references the Game Of Thrones, specifically the beheading of Ned Stark. “The biggest thing about Game Of Thrones is its shift of objectivity—the fact that no one is good and no one is bad," Sharma says. That mature outlook is evident on other tracks as well. While the previous albums had a smattering of songs that dealt with sex, this time the overarching theme is failed relationships.
“That’s how it goes…you have sex, then they leave you and you get upset. Then you write songs about it," Sharma says. “The break-ups are not really so much heterosexual or homosexual—it’s about how you’re left wanting more all the time from things, situations, people…."
The Circus is also different from most bands on a basic level. The CD and subsequent digital age has seen artistes putting out humongous albums. Not so with these guys. “Thirty minutes," Sharma says. “We would rather leave you wanting than exasperated."
The CD version of With Love (Honest Indian Recordings) will soon be available for ₹ 200 on www.instamojo.com; digital files, ₹ 84, will be available on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play store.