Howlin’ Circus – ‘Run the Wrong Way’

Social media is great for discovering new bands.  I don’t know if I started following Howlin’ Circus first, or if they followed me, but the important part is that we found each other.

Their first full-length album, Run the Wrong Way, is slated to be released on March 22 through British indie label Big Sister Records. Lead singer/guitartist Jafar Sandouk moved to Toronto shortly after the Brexit vote and joined forces with bassist Bryan Swartz and drummer Adam Burnell to form Howlin’ Circus.

HC 2

Run the Wrong Way is the follow up to their self-titled 2016 EP.  The lead off single, from which the album takes its name, is a hard-driving rock song that has gotten repeated play on my Spotify lists since it was released in late 2018.  Taking advantage of the new marijuana legalization laws in Canada, the band gave each attendee of the launch show a pre-rolled joint from a local supplier.

“Say It Ain’t So” sounds nothing like the Weezer song; instead, this one has a hard-driving drum beat and bass line that dares the listener to stomp their feet.  “Your Light Keeps On” has a very strong Fleetwood Mac feel with layered vocals that would make Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks proud.

Throughout the album, Sanduok demonstrates an impressive vocal range, including a growl that’s really fun to listen to; his guitar playing is top notch.  Swartz is great bassist with the capability of keeping the songs fun and exciting.  Rounding them out, Burnell’s drums are solid, featuring military cadence on occasion and wonderful fills.

Sanduok told me [the album] “took a massive effort over a year and a half…God Damn.  Can’t believe people are going to finally hear it.”

TAGS: Howlin’ Circus

Elliott Spagat


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