After four EPs over four years, Brisbane mainstay SILVER SIRCUS finds that home has been before them all along. Their first full-length album — TO THE PLACE THAT IS HOME — launches with the first rumblings of Queensland’s summer rainy season. Drawing on the resonant sounds of storms and inner-city forests, the band’s sonic quest for home — in time, in space, and amongst people — finds its answers on this record.
Silver Sircus haunts the shadows between dark cabaret, post-rock and performance art. With a sensual and highly visual aesthetic, the band carves its own niche. Co-creators Lucinda Shaw (singer-songwriter) and James Lees (composer/percussionist) stitch together each distinctive and intimate Silver Sircus show. Together, Lees and Aria award-winner Magoo co-produce To The Place That Is Home, recorded at Applewood, an old church in Fernvale, west of Brisbane.
Seven superlative musicians, along with Shaw and Lees, form the core ensemble: Mark Angel (Charles Foster Kane), bass guitarist Terry Dixon (Charles Foster Kane, Kate Bradley), violinist Sallie Cambell (Tulipan, Speed of Purple, Deep Blue), cellist Wayne Jennings (The Red Paintings, The Ragtag Band, Deep Blue), and pianist Parmis Rose (Hannah Macklin & the Maxwells, Astrid & the Asteroids). Joining them on the album are Fionn Elwood (percussion), Thomas Green (French horn), Shannon Marshall (trumpet), and special guests.
The debut LP’s collective sound — expansive, but restrained — calls down storms from Brisbane’s Mt Coot-tha, which translates to “place of honey” . The record opens to the steady minimalism of “Home”, a track that establishes spectral themes of memory and longing.
From “Home”, a trio of songs articulates deeply personal themes of flux and upheaval: “Come Back As You,” a rich, layered song of loss and love; “Don’t Look Too Long”, a river-song of tidal change; and the intimate, sad-hopeful “I Am Going To Find You”.
“We want the listener to lean in and discover the little stings and thorns inside the songs,” says Lees. “Everything on the album is truthful and from the heart.”
“Flesh Of My Flesh”, a paean to lost children, was written for and first performed in Toowong Cemetery. Its swelling choir of voices features Alison St Ledger and Yani. Following on, “What Is A Witch” grows from narrative to pure feeling: rage and passion through soaring trumpet and strings, arranged by Sallie Campbell (on wild violin). As an epilogue, “Hold Them Close, Mama” ghost-marches us into the record’s conclusion.
“Treat Yourself Gently” brings Silver Sircus full circle. Originally recorded in 1994 for ISIS, Lees’ and Shaw’s previous long-running project, “Treat Yourself Gently” brings a warm voice of hope before the final track. “Trails”, a spectral, mellifluous instrumental, sings us out into the sunrise.
To The Place That Is Home follows the recent release of EPs COME BACK AS YOU and I AM GOING TO FIND YOU.