Doug Andrew & the Circus in Flames

A Little Bit of Gasoline (Independent)

Nearly a decade after their debut, Doug Andrew and his band the Circus in Flames have lit the fuse on another disc of ready-to-explode folk rock. A Little Bit of Gasoline reintroduces Andrew’s distinctively weathered voice and the talents of multi-instrumentalist Brian Barr, who also played on the 1997 self-titled Circus in Flames debut. New to the fold are bassist Ron Allan, with whom Andrew played in Shanghai Dog back in the first wave of Vancouver punk, and in-demand drummer Ed Goodine.

The first Circus in Flames disc collected its share of rave reviews, and A Little Bit of Gasoline is bound to do the same. Andrew’s story-songs, backed here with generous helpings of mandolin and slide guitar and sung in an edge-of-madness warble, have a rough-hewn, raw groove. “Come Down the Canyon (Down Canyon Blues)”, a raucous tale about a guy escaping the confines of his narrow-minded hometown, sets the disc’s mood. The bittersweet “See You Waving” and the traditional-sounding folk of “Henry William” give the disc variety, while “When Christ Was a Cowboy” is an ambitious epic. But it’s the scary title track that really delivers. The fastest, punchiest tune here, it gives Andrew and his cohorts a chance to let loose in a way that makes you want to see what the Circus in Flames can do live.