We’re always suckers for a track that has us swaying from side to side from the first note so the latest single from The Diabolics, Circus Of Fleas, was a welcome listen for us here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today.
Circus of Fleas is a song whose upbeat feel doesn’t match the mournful unrequited love of the lyrics, but that’s not a bad thing. It makes you feel good about any unrequited loves of the past and forces you to accept them by smiling along to the easy delta bluesy feel of the song.
Vocally sounding just a touch like Jack Johnson, the lead vocals are clear and upfront. Every lyric is easy to discern and his voice has just the right amount of gravel to suit the style of the song.
There’s moments we’re reminded of CCR and other times, this feels like it could have come off a Status Quo album from their prolific 70s/80s era. (If you’re in the States, these guys were huge in the UK but we don’t think they especially made it across the pond).
We like how the song develops gently. That all important second verse has some gorgeous honky tonk style piano fills that help maintain the listeners interest. The simple but clear drum beat keeps everything in place.
It’s not often you hear a bass solo in a track and whilst this was an unusual choice, it most definitely works. With the occasional driven slide guitar notes complementing it – together with a few more of those lovely honky tonk moments, the bass solo is a welcome break down that fits just right.
We rather liked the “we’re not taking things too seriously” moment on the piano at the end. It added a touch of extra fun and personality to the track.
To our ears, a tiny bit of EQing might make a difference. Firstly, a hi-pass filter at 35Hz to reduce some unnecessary rumble in the sub bass area. A small low shelf cut set around 200Hz with a smaller additional cut around 100Hz to reduce some slightly boomy tones in the bass. The vocal sounds a little boxy / honky in the middle so a reduction or two in the 500 / 1kHz range might help, perhaps even a boost in the low mids would give the vocal a little more body. It’s a great vocal track, but it has a very slightly telephone-like quality to it. There is a little too much character in the top end so a small high shelf cut in the top two octaves with a small additional cut around 8-9kHz would the sounds that seem just a little too far forward.
The Diabolics are a band who came together after meeting on the brewery open mic scene of Denver, Colorado. Bringing together influences from rockabilly, classic rock and delta blues they’ve created a style that feels both retro and new all at the same time. A definite band to watch for both in a live setting and to add to your playlist.