The Electric Swing Circus – Big Ol’ Bite album review

The Electric Swing Circus

The Electric Swing Circus: an Electro-Swing group that publicly spectacles their talents with upbeat live performances for a sole purpose to entertain. Residents to the Hot Club De Swing and Electro Swing Club UK wide, this 6 piece group from Birmingham compose excellent recreations of the traditional 20’s swing elements whilst incorporating a modern twist of synths and sampling alongside a fretless bass, keys, drums and a gypsy jazz guitar behind the two Sisters of Swing. A truly stand-out and unique band of people, the Big Ol’ Bite record keeps true to their brilliantly unique swing persona whilst featuring elements ranging from Breakbeat & House music to Jungle & Dubstep, and as I discovered at Nozstock 2013 bring it around into a euphorically melodic live spectacle to behold. Unsurprisingly they were demanded back by the lively crowd for an extended encore . It is no wonder that they were awarded with the BEST LIVE ACT in the ElectroSwing Peoples Favorite Awards 2011.

 They support one another’s soulful sounds with their powerfully enchanting singing, complying effortlessly with the pacy yet rhythmic flow provided by the instrumentalists. I can remember wandering across a damp field in unrelenting rain until suddenly my ears pricked and my legs froze, and what had first caught my attention in their live performance as well as listening to this album was the brilliant vocal harmonizing between the Sisters of SwingEleanor & Laura. But it actually blew my mind to see the baseline manufactured from a double-bass & brass playing almost simultaneously to Tom’s precisely tight swing breakdowns, whilst the DJ blasted out his far-reaching variety of heavy House music.

As it was then it is now, Big Ol’ Bite is a record absolutely vital for a rainy day. Enchantingly positive, it’s excellence derives from it’s trait to overturn your frown and force a smile onto your face. The album opens with (no.1) ESC, which exhibits a traditional house sample overridden with a groovy bassline whilst the sisters call the listener softly into 47 minutes of an altered state of consciousness, it’s superbly psychedelic.  You’re then suddenly presented with the outrageously funky beat of (no.2) Belle Belle, and thus begins your exploit into the unknown depths of Electro-Swing. An inherited nostalgia gives the record an aura of jazz-like vintage, but twisted with an undeniably infectious induction of Electro samples. (No. 10) Ruby adventures the realms of Breakbeat infused with an underlying essence of Techno, which when performed live created an incredibly exhilarated atmosphere for the ecstatic crowd. The popular song (no.9) Minnie; a thrilling rendition of the famous jazz song Minnie the Moocher which was first recorded in 1931 by Cab Calloway & his orchestra goes in hard with more heavy Breakbeat-Swing.

However, the thumping instrumentals do not always dominate the act as proven with (no.6) Harvey. This song gently eases you into their captivating lullaby performed with an acoustic and the bare vocals of the Sisters, detailing the peculiarly mysterious tale of “Harvey, the weeper of dreams…”.  Another example of their powerfully entrancing singing features in (no. 10): Put Your Smile On. In just under two minutes we’re treated to the luring, sultry sing-song from the Sisters. With only a ukulele backing them, the song enchants you with their seemingly effortless changes in pitch in open contrast with their beautifully optimistic lyrics. and what makes these songs so exceptional is that they both brilliantly demonstrate their excellence with microphones. (No. 12) Little Phatty lures you into another smooth yet thumping Jungle rhythm while experimental blues trumpets override – the Sisters then make a subtle return with their memorably dreamy style of singing. Needless to say, this album will leave you blissful to say the least. 

The Electric Swing Circus

Currently touring they are a definite must-see this August for everybody heading to  Boomtown FairShambala and Bingley Festival 2013. Their album Big Ol’ Bite/The Electric Swing Circus is now available for listening on their YouTube channel as well as for purchase on both iTunes and Bandcamp, all of which you can find by following the links below:

Youtube channel:





About shandysmokepizzeria

I study and write about music. Numerous reviews, interviews and features can be found via my blog ShandySmokePizzeria:
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