My Mind Has Seen The White Trick
(2013, Happy Jack Rock Records)
Released the same day as When Machines Attack, My Mind Has Seen the White Trick is the more ethereal of the two. This is not to say the album isn't full of bizarre audio tricks, and occasional spurts of Tobias/Pollard noise damage. The original tale behind the LP was that Pollard recorded this alongside Todd Tobias with the intention of releasing it under the new side-project moniker of ESP Ohio. Upon hearing the finished product, Pollard scrapped the idea and decided it'd be Circus Devils album instead. And in the end, I'm glad because I would probably think that ESP Ohio was pretty shitty. Instead, I just think this is a pretty good Circus Devils LP!!! Funny how the goddamn world works.
Stop Floating-2 Sounds like incidental music from a cartoon where a bunch of dumb kids walk up to some haunted mansion in a campy cartoon. But unlike that hackneyed scenario, this might be worse. Pollard talks some nonsense over it.
It Floors The Jane-4 A nice, sparse yet persistent percussion driven tune that goes quiet-loud-quiet-loud. Percussion quiet parts burst into two chord, slow headbob dirge. Moody as fuck. Gets better with repeated listens.
Bird Zone- 4 Whoa! This song sounds like a malfunctioning slot machine! Or a disgruntled lounge singer's fever dream. That or my record's skipping. Nope. It's got cheese lounge style Casio keyboarding around, over jittery pounding that only makes it better.
Deliver Ice Cream- 3 Guitar driven, sleaze rock song. No real tricks pulled on this one. Fairly straight-forward Pollard hard-rock tune.
Mine- 2 One of the least interesting song titles in the Pollardian universe, I'll give 'em that. Looping, ambient bloops and bleeps accompanied with gentle guitar plucks. Pollard sings some stuff over this in rather half-assed fashion. Calming, but far from important.
Great Orphan- 3 Deep voiced Pollard croons away on this slow, humdrum acoustic strummer. Has the potential to be a hidden epic, but hits average, late-night-listening territory at most.
Android Dust- 2 Spiky guitar opens with Pollard talk-singing before switching to weird, unnecessary voice! Sort of plods along, getting proggier, and then proggier, and then Pollard sings kinda outta tune while singing "Do your worst singing, Do your worst singing." Yes, what's with the goddamn singing Pollard? THE SINGING!!!
We'd Be Alright- 2 "Coffee breath like Panama City," is always a bad way to open a song. Sassy little number, almost too cool for school. Sounds like a rejected theme song to a '70s cop show, but outlandish. Does contain the line "My mind has seen the white trick," in case you cared.
Subway To Human Nature- 4 Moody, ambient horror breaks into mid-tempo, drum reverb and subtle but hauntingly catchy, deadpan vocal hook. Gets better with time. A bit of a Pixies' Trompe Le Monde outtake.
Locomotion Blue Note- 4 Somewhere between The Clash's Sandinista and an Iranian bazaar lies this song. Middle Eastern slow funk maybe? Equal parts cool, equal sleaze. Eventually gives way to an celestial, left-of-center bridge. I'd imagine this being a dividing track, even for a Circus Devils record.
It Is Not Necessary- 5 The most urgent track of the LP with demanding vocal delivery from Pollard. Starts with a subdued intensity before breaking into airy bridge where Pollard croons away. Returns to stomping, and (again) eastern flavored guitar stomp. The whole thing sounds paranoid and pissed, without sounding punk. And that's alliteration.
Eddie's Derangement- 3 A hippy-dippy sounding acoustic circle session with some rambling Pollard lines. Is this a Blind Melon b-side with new vocals over it? Not terrible, but pretty bland.
Strained Ligature- 1 Ambient keyboard wallowing. Pollard talk-sings like a community theater outcast. Billows off into more keyboard nonsense. Most useless thing on the whole slab o' wax.
Peculiar Smells- 3 First off, this song is called "Peculiar Smells." Uggghhh. man. Dare I say this track is "playful"? Well, yeah it is. Is this a late '70s song from Sesame Street? 1/3 Fischer-Price pre-programmed music box, 1/3 creepy Uncle singing, 1/3 unsettling sound effects. This is awful, and I kind of love it.
Skyclops- 3 First off, this song is called "Skyclops." Uggghhh. man. Sorry. These titles are forcing me to write the same shit over and over. Stomping attitude injected song, complete with synth interjections that sound like samples from the Police Academy 4: Citizen's On Patrol theme. Kind of annoying. Kind of infectious.
Lice- 2 Pretty ho-hum track from the title, to vocals, to mid-tempo squealing over the repetitive percussion. Noisy, short, but ultimately kind of pointless.
Wizard- 3 Closing out the LP, a somewhat swampy rock track that eventually turns into a grungier, more bizarre platform for the Circus Devils wizardy, before spilling back into crunchy arena rock with sound samples. Always with the sounds samples. This is a Circus Devils song, ya know! Not bad. Not great.