Album review: THE SLAMBOVIAN CIRCUS OF DREAMS – A Box Of Everything


Red River [Release date 16.06.16]

Who?  And where the hell is Slambovia?  Not another Eastern European bloc state looking to dig its snout into the EU feeding trough?

No, it’s a state of mind of a New York indie outfit led by Joziah Longo.  Brigaded under the ever broadening ‘Americana’ badge, presumably because of the line-up – Longo plays guitars and harmonica, Tink Lloyd accordion, cello, flute and theremin, Sharkey McEwen guitars and mandolin, and Felipe Torres drums and percussion.

But ‘A Box Of Everything’ is a long way from what I would call ‘Americana’.  It’s a throwback, certainly.  But more to the late 1960s when rock was beginning to cut its infant teeth.  And when you dive deeper, A Box Of Everything – although it stands well as a single piece of work, is actually a ‘best of’ originally released in the US in 2014 and spanning the band’s four album releases between 1998 and 2010, and given  a ‘push’ here to support some 2016 UK dates.

Described by some as ‘The Hillbilly Pink Floyd’ that really doesn’t do the band justice.  There’s shades of Dylan (and The Wilburys), Floydian moments, and Neil Young, but perhaps most strikingly of early Bowie.

If some of the songs here were presented as the missing link between David Bowie (1969) and The Man Who Sold The World (1970), many would be duped.  There’s even a whimsical, and previously unreleased number – ‘A Very Unusual Head’ – that is the missing link to Bowie’s ‘Laughing Gnome’.

There’s some wonderful material here – the impossibly infectious ‘Living With God’, the Barret-era wig out in epic ‘Talkin’ To The Budda’, the Southern rock of ‘Tink (I Know It’s You)’ with some marvellously uninhibited lead guitar work, and the gentle Bowie/Lou  Reed-influenced ‘Lost Highway’ to name but a few.

Forget the Americana badging.  Anyone with an interest in the 1969/70 period in the evolution of rock should check these guys out.  Wherever the hell Slambovia is, book your tickets now, the band are playing selected UK dates this June.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley

UK dates (June 2016)

Thursday, June 16, 2016
Jam House
3-5 St Pauls Square

Friday, June 17, 2016
Orange Yard, Manette St, London  W1D 4JB

Saturday, June 18, 2016
Margate Rock & Blues
Margate Winter Gardens

Sunday, June 19, 2016
The Stables
Stockwell Lane, Milton Keynes

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
University of East Anglica/Waterfront Studio
139-141 King Street, Norwich

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Pocklington Arts Centre
Market Place, Pocklington, York YO42 2AR

Thursday, June 23, 2016 12:00 AM
The Thunderbolt
124 Bath Road, Bristol, Avon BS4 3ED

Saturday, June 25th, 2016
Hertford Corn Exchange
39 Fore St., Hertford, Herts SG14 1AL

Sunday, June 26th, 2016
Linton Music Festival
The Alma Inn, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire

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