The Naked Circus is the solo project for Cédric Melancon. On his recent album 5 Months he sounds like a full band as he plays multiple instruments including guitar, drums, bass, mandolin, piano, percussion and harmonica on top of singing. It’s not everyday you hear of a musician who pulls off that kind of dexterity.
Luckily, Melancon cannot only play multiple instruments but can also write a song. The songs on 5 Months aren’t particularly experimental but instead rely on classic songwriting that contains thought out lyrics and catchy melodies.
The album starts with “A Chameleon Boy” which revolves around acoustic guitars, a steady drum beat, a bass and a catchy vocal melody. It contains a warm, festive vibe as Melancon laments about a troubled relationship. He sings, “Came ruining my parade / My hopeless heart, my own disgrace I filled a hole with love / That wasn't planned to even evolve I'm sick of you.” The ending contains an effective yet short guitar solo I almost wanted to last longer.
Melancon’s next song “ Happy Birthday (To Me)” is bit more somber and reflective, however I couldn’t but give a little chuckle when he sings “Happy Birthday to me” on the chorus. One thing I liked about 5 Months was the slight change and feel of each of the songs.
The mood changes just enough to keep you interested. Take for instance “Been There Before” that feels hopeful behind a veil of melancholy which is followed by the Americana embrace of “Phantom Lover.”
One of the highlights is “Say It To Me Now” which happens to be one of Melancon’s best vocal performances. He stays within his range and it sounds good on him.
5 Months isn’t without some flaws but it is a good, cohesive album any way you look at it. Recommended
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