Album Reviews: Jonatha Brooke – Back In The Circus (2004)


First thing to point out here is that I am rating and reviewing the UK release of this album which is slightly different to the original US version. The differences are the removal of the three cover versions which have been replaced by older songs from her back catalogue, and a change to the running order. Quite why this was thought neccesary I don’t know and I for one would have preferred it to have been released in its original format. Especially as I already have the three ‘replacement’ tracks.

Despite the changes ‘Back In The Circus’ is another solid quality album from a much under rated performer. Those familiar with the works of Jonatha Brooke will know exactly what to expect here. Clever lyrics, good melodies and perfect vocals. Unfortunately they will also be unsurprised to find their attention wandering a little towards the end of the album as things do start to get a little samey on a Brooke album after a while. Of course the good side to that is that if you like her voice then you will enjoy them. It is just a shame that ‘Back In The Circus’ becomes one of those albums that doesn’t require you to actually sit and listen to it attentively. You will happily leave the room for a few minutes without pausing or may start writing a letter or shopping list or something.

For me, the better tracks are towards the beginning of the album, with the exception of ‘Steady Pull’ (one of the replacement tracks, and the title track of the previous album). In fact the two best tracks on the album are ‘Steady Pull’ and ‘Linger’ which are both replacement tracks from the aforenamed album. ‘It Matters Now’ ‘ Back in the Circus’ and ‘Better After All’ are easily the best of the new songs and although ‘Less Than Love Is Nothing’ has a nice vibe the remainder of the album is pleasant but nothing spectacular and the songs can become a little anonymous in retrospect.

In conclusion then I would suggest that this album is a little inferior to the previous one Steady Pull despite including three tracks from it and the follow up ‘Careful What You Wish For’. Newcomers to Jonatha Brooke may be better with Plumb which although being credited to Jonatha Brooke and The Story is to all intents and purposes her first solo album.

© Martin Leedham. First published on RYM April 2010

About Martin Leedham

Music critic, Horse Racing Tipster, Hapless Dreamer, Defender of the Underdog
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