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Soul SirkUS World Play Frontiers Records
FRCD239-E
· Produced By: Soul Sirkus

· Running Time: 72.49

· Release Date: April 25

· Released: EU

· Musical Style: Hard Rock / Melodic Rock

· Links: Frontiers Soul Sirkus
98%
Songs: 99%
Sound: 90%
It's been quite a journey (no pun intended) already for these guys. Not too many bands get to re-record parts of their debut album, especially after it's already been released!
The independent release was released via the Internet before drummer Deen Castronovo stepped back to concentrate on Journey and his health. In stepped acclaimed Aussie stickman Virgil Donati.
To revitalize the band and to enable the band to tour behind what they had recorded, it was decided that Donati and bassist Marco Mendoza would re-record their parts and the entire project would be remixed and remastered.
Virgil's contribution to the band and these songs should not be undersold. Deen is a fabulous drummer and has his own place in this band. But Virgil is a more diverse musician and his knack for adding drum fills into seemingly impossible situations is evident throughout this version of the album.
The additional drum fills and use of rhythm is in your face from the outset – check out the added texture to Highest Ground and the opening beats of New Position.
Peephole is now even more intense than it was previously and My Sanctuary rocks better than ever.
Although some will be unhappy at the prospect of forking out for something they have already bought, fans of the band remain the winners from this arrangement.
As the European release of World Play features a far better mix and master, but also adds no less than 4 additional tracks.
I stated in my original review that this album was best suited to being played from start to finish, as it's a record that takes the listener on a journey and the songs are best listened to back to back, rather than individually. It's not an album I would lift several singles from; rather it's better when played as a complete piece of work.
This is even more evident now. Two of the additional tracks are fills between tracks, Abailar To Mundo being a glory piece for bassist Marco Mendoza and My Love My Friend giving Soto fans something to cheer about. Together they help bind the album together and further add to the journey between the opening and closing tracks.
The new tracks:
Alive is the only true new track in the sense that it follows the traditional format of what a song is. And what a song…this is a fantastic rocking, but melodic anthem with a snappy rhythm section and some funky guitar parts and a typical Jeff Scott Soto anthem chorus that would have sat comfortably on the recent Lost In The Translation album. Its addition makes it one of the album highlights.
Abailar To Mundo is a funk-fest for all bass players and highlights Marco's Latin roots and his flair for a killer groove.
My Love, My Friend is an accapela track, with Soto in full force, with the rest of the guys providing rich harmony support. Very Queen and very stylish.
James Brown is the European bonus track and really just for a laugh. This is a R&B/Funk/Soul track with a swagger Glenn Hughes would be proud of and sees Neal Schon outside his normal playing parameters. Good fun, but maybe not for all!
Still appropriate from my original CD review:
World Play is an album that lives up to the high expectations a lot of people have been hoping for. It's a monster of an album, but not for the most obvious reasons.
This album showcases what rock n roll is all about. It is an untamed record and showcases four first class musicians playing how they were born to perform.
World Play is very loose and raw…it's a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of record. It is recorded how it sounded as they guys belted the music out – no high-tech polish, no endless overdubs, no piece-meal note by note over-thinking.
Soul SirkUS is part Hardline, part Talisman, part JSS solo and part Journey. Rather than the hard edge stadium rock of Hardline, Soul Sirkus has a far bigger groove and is less constrained by structured songs and formulas.
Neal Schon really gets to let fly, and plays with the energy and conviction of a man recording his debut album. Vocalist Jeff Scott Soto gets to showcase the full range of his vast talents – from his booming hard rock vocals, to some high pitch screams, back to soft soulful balladry, with his trademark funk and groove fitting perfectly with the flawless rhythm of Mendoza and Donati.
The production might not be as crisp and clean as Journey, or as precise as the Hardline record, but the performances are electric.
There are some monster harmony vocals throughout, with Jeff utilizing his trademark layered harmonies in line with supplemental vocals from the rest of the guys.
I find myself liking different tracks from week to week, which proves two things – the album is quite varied and it proves true depth, providing new experiences for listeners beyond the initial period of getting to know an album.
Original Review Track By Track.
The Bottom Line
This band deserves to be monster. They deserve a million seller. The talent is, as Jeff puts it "beyond ridiculous". This still a new band and I believe the guys will find their lasting groove on the road. Heaven help us, as when they take that to the studio next time, it's bound to be amazing.
Where the album will rank with individual fans will be down to what they expect from the record and what they take away from it. On face value, World Play is one of the grooviest hard rock records in a long time and stands alone as far as style and content.
Absolutely essential for any fans of Schon and Soto and anyone who adores the Hardline album.
I'd already rated this album about as highly as you can get, but they get one more point for the awesome Alive.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· World Play (Original Deen Version)
· World Play (US Release, Green Cover)
· World Play (European Version, Yellow Cover w/Bonus Track + DVD)

Line Up
· Jeff Scott Soto: Vocals
· Neal Schon: Guitar, Synths
· Deen Castronovo: Drums
· Marco Mendoza: Bass

Essential for fans of:
· Jeff Scott Soto
· Journey
· Neal Schon
· Hardline - Double Eclipse
Track Listing
· Highest Ground*
· New Position*
· Another World
· Soul Goes On*
· Alive
· Peephole
· Abailar To Mundo
· Periled Divide
· Praise*
· My Sanctuary*
· Friends 2 Lovers
· Coming Home*
· My Love, My Friend
· Close The Door
· James Brown
--*Best Tracks


18/08/07: Antal Horvath - a.horvath@optusnet.com.au
Rating: 60
I initially listened to this CD more than 18 months ago, and after a couple of listens, I just did not get it. So i decided to put it away and come back and listen to it at a later stage. That time has come now. This time the CD has been playing on and off for days, me trying to get it. And i still don't. After many a listen, i still dont get the melodies and it does not grow on me. Don't get me wrong, I dont question the musicianship of the guys involved. Their record speaks for themselves. But somehow after many listens this album just does not do it for me. And no, i was not expecting a Journey Mk.2 cd. And as far as being modern, its not even really that modern. There are bands even within the melodic rock scene that do modern quite well. Soul Sirkus does not. The highlight for me was the DVD extra. Without it, this would have rated below 50.

09/09/06: gregg - gmcpa@optonline.net
Rating: 84
Agreed. Very overrated.

21/07/06: Mike the Conqouror - mhiner14@charter.net
Rating: 65
One of the most over-rated releases in the history of the site!!! Andrew has an absolute love affair for JSS's that I just don't get. He is hailed as great singer but does for more shouting than singing. Bought this cd for one track only; that being the Journey sound-alike "Coming Home" the rest is completely different and not worth the bother. It is actually difficult to listen to this cd all the way through and stay awake. More "noise" that "melodic" rock.

16/01/06: Simon - simon.shorten@environment-agency.gov.uk
Rating: 5
JSS is one of the best vocalists, NS is one of the greatest guitarists - But what is this all about? What a disappointment. Got half way through each song and was so bored I just had to skip to the next track, which was just as bad. Was hoping for Humanimal meets Hardline, but alas it could not have been more different. Will be putting it on Ebay, with no reserve ASAP!

03/08/05: Don Manzo - guit6@aol.com
Rating: 95
The debate will always be in force with this disc because of who is on it. Sometimes, that is in deference to the material. I really enjoy this disc..alot! My high rating is from a musician's standpoint...the playing on this is simply incredible. Yes, Jeff's lyrics to get cliche'd at times, but his vocals are amazing on it! Neal is out to show people what he's got...which is alot, and forget it with Marco and Virgil backing them up! Saw them in NYC and they were smoking...and that was the 4th show of the tour. Cant wait for the next one....

20/07/05: MARTILLO - martillo@hotmail.com
Rating: 10
PURE CRAP!!!! Who are they going to fool? Awful hard rock which goe s nowhere. What a waste of money. Where are the melodies???? Just awful hard rock.

05/07/05: STEVE15 - brookrok@lanset.com
Rating: 60
I'M A HUGE FAN OF ALL THE MEMBERS OF SOUL SIRKUS.
BUT I'VE LISTENED TO THIS CD FOR A WHILE NOW & WISH THEY WOULD OF WORKED A LITTLE LONGER ON THE SONGS.
JEFF SCOTT SOTO IS A GREAT SINGER & FRONTMAN BUT HIS LYRICS ON THIS CD ARE TOO CLICHE.. SEEMS LIKE HE RUSHED THEM OUT.
NEAL SCHON IS A GUITAR GOD WITH JOURNEY SANTANA HARDLINE HSAS ETC..
BUT EVEN THIS GREAT SONGWRITER CAN RUN OUT OF IDEAS!
JUST SEEMS LIKE THE SONGS WEREN'T FULLY DEVELOPED!
THEIR ARE SOME SONGS I LIKE ( I'M A NEAL SCHON FREAK )
HOPEFULLY IF THEY DECIDE TO DO ANOTHER CD , THEY'LL LET MARCO CONTRIBUTE A LITTLE!
JUST GOT THE FREE GENERATIONS CD @ A JOURNEY SHOW IN KELSEYVILLE CA VERY COOL ARRIVAL MEETS ESCAPE!

03/07/05: Terry K. - terrygk3@juno.com
Rating: 95
WOW! Finally got ahold of this cd and it CRANKS! What are people thinking that are rating this just so-so? Guess they must be expecting 'Journey II' os something. Actually,'World Play' has more in common with bands like Winger and Sammy-era Van Halen. Very intense playing here and JSS is a very talented,versatile vocalist! Although the added tune,'Alive', is a monster,the other new short tunes are filler and uneeded affairs. And what a killer drummer this Virgil Donati is! We already knew of Schon's ability,but all 4 of these guys make one amazing band! If you like your melodic rock with some added ZING,get Soul Sirkus.But give it 2 or 3 spins-it WILL grab you and won't let go! Highly recommended! (ps: this Freddy guy should retire from reviewing cds-he's critical of just about everything I've read by him.)

10/06/05: DeKozzen - hans.cosyns@vt4.net
Rating: 70
It's not bad, but I expected something different. Loved Jeff's voice more on his solo albums. Too much screaming for him.
Not so melodic also as I expected. Some very good songs, but maybe first I have to listen to the europeen version of it. I rated here the american version. Talented guys, but (personal opinion guys !) they can do better (more melodic in my case..)for me. Cheers.

29/05/05: John K - mowpardude@yahoo.com
Rating: 94
I ordered this album not knowing that much about Jeff Scott Soto.
On paper this lineup looks great.
Well, I have to say that Schon and Soto is a match made in heaven. Schon really kicks it into high gear and let's it rip throughout. JSS really impressed me with his power and range. Each player get's his chance to really shine. Marco Mendoza really impressed me with his bass playing when I saw him play live with Whitesnake and it's no different here. The standout track on the album is "Periled Divide". Moody and powerful. It's one of those songs you hit the repeat button for over and over. I had heard a 30 sec MP3 of this song and at the time this track alone convinced me to buy this album.

Other highlights are "Highest Ground", "Friends 2 lover's", "New Position", & "Another World".
"Coming Home" will satisfy the Journey lover in you.

Yes, the album is agressive in most spots and does have a tinge of cutting edge-melodic rock quality to some of the tracks.
It's an album you listen to on the way to work to get your blood pumping & get the adrenaline flowing. It's also a great Saturday night album to let rip on your speakers
Highly recommend this album to all melodic rock fans.
World Play is in heavy rotation in both the house and the car, & keeps getting stronger & stronger with each listen.
The limited edition DVD with a behind the scene look at the band + video's is awesome.

21/05/05: Ronda - 1@peoplepc.com
Rating: 100
This is the way Rock should sound. There is not a song on this cd that I don't like. Peephole is just a kick ass song. Neal really wails. As for JSS his vocals can stand up against any singer out there, you won't find any one more versital or better.
I would recommend this as a must buy. I caught them live in Chicago, Il and the musicianship was outstanding. They truly sound the same live as on cd. And for all the ladies, they are
HOT to look at!

20/05/05: Philip - philip_lindstrand@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
95 is a preety high score and first off I'll say all the original songs (included in US version)are amongst the best melodic Hard Rock songs you'll find. From beautifull ballads too hard edged funk swagger, In other words it's Hard Rock heaven. If Virgil had been in the band from the bigining then I think they'd skip the bonus tracks and then the album would've gotten a perfect score from me. It's not that the songs are bad or anything (Alive is amongst the best on the record)but I think they should've placed them in the end of the record (or on the bonus CD)because the record gets so long you can't listen to it from start too finish without getting a little bored.
But all and all this is the best record that has been released this year and I can't wait to catch them live when they come too Sweden.
P.S. Jeff Scott Soto is the best fucking singer and frontman this world has seen since Freddy Mercury.

19/05/05: ricardo - ricardo_mds@yahoo.com.br
Rating: 86
As a fan of Neal Schon, i think, everything he does is worth buying it. But, after listem "soul sirkus"!?
I was expecting much more from him and Soto.
I think it would be better if they had cut some (not so good) songs. It's a very long albun and those songs make it a little boring to listem.

19/05/05: Freddy De Keyzer - freddydekeyzer@hotmail.com
Rating: 50
Still not convinced this is any good !
With so much talent involved, you should expect something more classy than this raw hardrock record.
Too modern and not melodic enough for my liking !
Jeff is shouting, not singing on this one !
Give me Eyes anytime !

18/05/05: :RS: - restorey2001@yahoo.com
Rating: 90
BIG improvement over the original. The major new track, "Alive" is both a big rocker and a melodic masterpiece. It is just what the album needed - one more strong song. Schon and Soto's performances are great although I think Jeff could write some better or more inspired lyrics. Sometimes he's great, other times a bit cliched. The most noticeable difference is in the low-end mix. Donati's drums have a much sharper attack, and that leaves more room in the mix for Mendoza's bass. I'm hearing things that I didn't hear on the first release, which was a good album but a bit undercooked. I hope they do more because this is a great band.

18/05/05: Dave Richardson - dave.journey@btinternet.com
Rating: 90
Some awesome tracks here! Highest Ground, New Position, Soul Goes On, Coming Home and the amazing Higher are, for me, the stand out tracks here. I can't get them off my deathdeck!! Played to death. Seeing the band live brought it all home (despite the negative comments elsewhere about solos, choice of material, etc). This band rocks. This band grooves. This band is as melodic as you want. This band pcan play it's ass off!! Buy or die.

18/05/05: bas - -
Rating: 95
Ok, what can be said about this band that hasn't been said already? Some love it, some loath it. I just love it. (I got the Deen version without expecting anything and loved it!) This version with Virgil is even better! Great production, more songs/sounds, huge drumsounds and soulfull bass. After seeing the band live, the CD comes to live (pun intended) even more. My vote for best of the year! If your into (raw, dirty) rock, just get this!

18/05/05: Andy Hawes - andy.sixstring@ntlworld.com
Rating: 85
When I first heard mp3 samples of the tracks on the original version of this album, I have to admit that I didn't get it at all. It sounded pretty rough and the songs didn't seem to have much to say-all hard rockin' bombast and thunder with no substance. However, having purchased this new Frontiers Records remixed/remastered version just prior to London show, I have changed my mind!
To really 100% 'get' the album, I reckon you have to see the band live, cos it's in the live arena that they really shine. The true power of the songs just blasts through and their true substance is revealed. Certainly, having enjoyed the live show, I now listen to the album in a very different light. Ok, it certainly ain't Journey, but it is a damn fine hard rock record. The remastering/remix has done wonders too, as the sound is much smoother and sounds more 'expensive' - less like a demo, I guess.
Overall, if you have listened to the album and don't quite 'get it', try it again. It takes a while to soak in-even having seen the band live. If you get the chance to see the band live, grab it with both hands cos not only will you see a great show, but the songs will take on a new significance. Best tracks? Not sure as my opinion changes day to day, but you can't argue with Highest Ground and New Position-stormin' rockers. Alive is a cracker and I LOVE Periled Divide (superb live, this one!).
At the end of the day, if you bought the original version, it's up to you whether you fork out for this, but this new version is a very good record!

18/05/05: Jon - booper71@cinci.rr.com
Rating: 95
This is the way Schon wants to play in Journey! His guitar is all over the tracks and the songs are the feel good hits of the Summer!
The added (or Padded) tracks are nice but don't fit the mold of the rest of the disc.


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