Is it taboo to want to compare indie artists with more mainstream ones? Howlin’ Circus reminds me of the lovechild between Neon Trees and Arctic Monkeys–at least, from my impression of “Run the Wrong Way”. The airy, raspy vocals pair nicely with their music video, taking us on the journey into the grunge of a house-party (warehouse party? bar party?). The flashing blue and reds, the wall to wall people, and the energy exuded by the lead singer all follow a nice pattern. Nothing here seems out of place.
But who are Howlin’ Circus? Doing the most surface level digging, you find out that their members, Adam, Jafar, and Bryan, left the UK (see where I get Arctic Monkeys from?) to set up a place in Toronto in order to ditch Brexit. Not a bad idea, seeing how things are going. But this is a music blog. Turns out “Run the Wrong Way” is the breakout song off their new album, similarly titled Run the Wrong Way. In any event, these guys seem to have a handle on their own sound, and the passion drips off of them like sweat in a house-party.
The song itself tells the story of the narrator waiting for his “honey” to either come back to him or to find him–it’s slightly unclear. I personally think it’s the type of relationship where both of them have to make bad decisions to stay together. One of those ‘I only love you when I’m drunk” type of beats. The rock blends with the drums, the drums blend with the vocals, everything sort of fits in with this notion of waiting for the night to begin. When the instruments calm down to build that anticipation, that’s when the song is most powerful. Building to the “beat drop” is my favorite part of anything and Howlin’
Circus does it to great effect on this track. I enjoy it because I can relate to the feeling–the heart-throbbing moments when you’re wall to wall with strangers, just waiting for the music to explode. Maybe the song doesn’t try to be a meta-analysis of partying and getting hammered. I wouldn’t care if it was; I just like to see it like that. And when the snare explodes, that’s when I know to start swinging my arms around and to never stop.
I dig the style. I dig the music video. And I did the way they sound. It’s refined enough to not be juvenile, but not so refined that I would be afraid to play it around mixed company. I think Howlin’ Circus is something to watch. I’d be excited to see what they come up with next, if this is off their debut. Give them time to marinate and, well, we might actually get that genuine mix of Neon Trees and Arctic Monkeys.
It’s a song I’d listen to while drinking Fireball. If that doesn’t say enough, I don’t know what else I can say.
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