Not counting their early EP Sh*t Like A Champion, Corporate Circus have just released their second album. Packed with thirteen hyper-kinetic songs, There's No Place Like Home exhibits a degree of professionalism and polish usually reserved for national releases.
While they label themselves as "punk rock" my ears pick up alternative influences and a highly developed sense of melody not usually found in punk fodder. You have most likely heard "Fool's Paradise" which received heavy airplay on 102.3. Exhibiting a catchy melody, buzzing guitars, and dumpster's worth of energy, it takes a major effort NOT to like this song. "Hooray For School" finds Ryan Bettinger spouting forth sarcastic lyrics against a wall of Krokus-edged guitars provided by Jon Shoes and Corbin Arnett. More 80s influence is found in "Everyday" which rockets through a metal introduction before bassist Josh Bloom leads the motley crew into a gutsy guitar riff section quite out of character for punk. The band exhibits their amazing technical skill in "What I Never Had" which opens with a ferocious display of guitar mastery while Jeremy Isaacs pounds the skins with such insanity that I imagine he was about two inches off his stool while playing. Also getting a lot of airplay is "Disturbed", a bouncy, gritty diatribe against small town America, a song that currently has plans to infect the musical mind of anyone who hears it.
True to the punk ethic, most of these songs hover around the three-minute mark. What I found particularly pleasing was that a number of songs open with well-written extended instrumental passages that provide a nice change from the usual song structure. Add to this the variety of song influences, from metal to hardcore to punk to pop, and you've got my attention.
I should have guessed that this album was recorded by Tim Bushong of T.Bush Record Plant, the local master of capturing a band's combustible energy. The guitar sounds are deadly and everything is amazingly well recorded and mixed… my hat, and toupee, are off to Mr. Bushong. These 45 minutes of screaming, energetic, melodic punk can be found at Karma Records, Wooden Nickel Music Stores, and Sam Goody.
This review first appeared in WhatzUp, May 2002.