Circus Gawd Bless The Faceless Cowards (vs Andre Afram Asmar)

[Mush; 2004]

Styles: underground hiphop, experimental rap
Others: Shapeshifters, AWOL One, 2Mex

Remember that kid in high school health class that would always yap your ear off everyday? He would tell you all about conspiracy theories, the downfall of religion, filthy politicians, and his girlfriend who goes to a different school. He seemed to be an endless source of off-kilter factoids and nonsense information -- and you never asked him for any of it. He, for some reason, felt it was his obligation and duty to let you know all the weird crap that was going on inside his head, and you never really had the nerve to tell him to "shut up." So you would put up with him the length of the semester. He wasn't part of the "in-crowd," but he also wasn't a complete loser; he was just kinda there and never seemed to totally disappear from your class schedule. Circus is a lot like that kid.

Known for his eccentricities, from Zelda to abductions, Circus is probably the most celebrated member of the Shapeshifters. Like his crew-mates, he's either adored or panned. Despite what you think of him, Circus is determined to go on and on and on about whatever it is he pleases. This time around he's teamed up with fellow MUSH-signee, Andre Afram Asmar. The two present us with Gawd Bless The Faceless Cowards, a collection of 12 tracks that exhibit a wide-range of music and words.

Andre Afram Asmar provides an eclectic selection of beats to match Circus' otherworldly lyric tendencies. Asmar glitches, pounds, buzzes, whirls, and squeaks his way through a variety of compositions, all unified by a certain diversity. It's some of the best production Circus has had the fortune of working with. With this said, Circus had no trouble making the most of Asmar's work. Six songs on Gawd Bless exceed the five-minute mark, and four of them exceed six minutes. These long-winded numbers can be attributed to Circus' ability to ramble on. Circus goes off on every tangent imaginable, almost testing his listener to see if they can keep up. I personally have a hard time doing so. Circus fares far better when he is short and concise, like on "Sir Romancealot." This two-minute love ballad shows his incredibly insightful and quirky writing style, leaving the excess alone.

As Circus dances over Asmar's highly-spacey production, he delves predominately into UFOs and war. His thoughtful and comedic opinion on these topics is very entertaining, but not enough to keep me listening for six minutes. With a little more tidiness, Gawd Bless The Faceless Cowards is Circus' best showing ever; unfortunately, the excess causes some of Asmar's musical charm to be lost, as well as the listener's attention.

1. Bully
2. Army of Fresh
3. We Are Not Alone
4. Sex In Space
5. Nobody Special
6. Biblical Proof of UFOs
7. Holy Blood
8. Who Killed Me?
9. Club Lights
10. Sir Romancealot
11. Smell The Roses
12. Redeemer