The American Metaphysical Circus

The American Metaphysical Circus

Nearly a year after the release of The United States Of America’s sole album, the band’s spearhead Joe Byrd assembled a larger group named the Field Hippies and recorded The American Metaphysical Circus. Much like his preceding project, this one abounds with analog synthesizer wizardry, though this time around Byrd seemed less concerned with producing accessible songs and more interested in further exploring uncharted sonic topographies. The end result births bouts of brilliance, starting with "Kalyani,” a beautifully collaged patchwork of layered soundscapes and voices that all peak to an awesome apex before bleeding into the go-go psych-jam “You Can’t Ever Come Down” (which sounds like a more artful Shocking Blue at times). “Moonsong: Pelog” balances an endearing future/kitsch contrast (think Barbarella conceptualized in song) while the elegant “Patriot’s Lullabye” plays like a mini space-opera before much of the album succumbs to the kind of old-timey, Dixieland-tinged, waxed-mustache, psychedelic tomfoolery that was indicative of the era. But Byrd’s experimental brilliance returns toward the end of “The Elephant At the Door.”

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