Roto’s Magic Act is the project of James Rotondi (Mr. Bungle, The Cringe) is one of those sleeper albums that crossed my playlist. The circus theme is pretty ambitious, and the opener “Circus Clown” is a study in subtleties, with jazzy rhythm guitars that lead to the hook in the chorus. Its over 4-minutes, mixing influences as diverse as Dire Straits, Collective Soul and The Doors. “Hearts In Flight” is a country flavored mid-tempo song, and then it shifts gears to a glam-infused rocker “Faraway Lands.”
The power pop of “Happier Than Ever” has the wry sarcastic approach of Jellyfish, and both “Hot News” and “South” have wicked skilled guitar work. The style here is closer to those beloved late 70’s bands (Styx and Meatloaf), also on the most memorable tracks here “The Old Trapdoor” and “Strays.”
The potpourri of styles may initially be off-putting, it fact I would encourage multiple listens on shuffle mode for best results. You are likely to find a favorite track here be it power pop, hard rock, country-rock or folk. Roto’s Magic Act will be released May 13.