Howlin’ Circus brings a free-spirited rock ‘n’ roll to the modern world with words that have a lot to say, all courtesy of its brainchild Jafar Sandouk. 2017 saw the release of his self-titled EP. With it, he delivered a blend of blues, rock, gospel and soul. He impressed us with songs such as “When Summer Comes” and “The Raising”.
Then, things took a change with his debut album Run the Wrong Way in 2019. He let his lyrics run loose, as he says it is, “a soundtrack to the chaos, political turmoil and rise in white supremacy that inspired Sandouk’s Brexit from the UK to Canada. It is a moment to reflect on the horror, the beauty, and the sadness of breaking up with your country”. It is a captivating release that offers so much, thanks to songs such as “Run the Wrong Way” and “Hold Your Own”.
Earlier in the year, Howlin’ Circus released the single “Dresden”. A taster of what is to come with his upcoming album. Instantly, there is yet another shift in sound. It is clear that Sandouk is a songwriter who continues to push his skills and evolve his talents. Its soft psychedelic vibe is hypnotic, and his vocals pull in the listener further.
Now, with momentum on his side, he releases his latest track, “Only For A Night”. A celebration about living for the moment, a song brought to life during the pandemic. Its words remind the listener that life is for living. Sandouk says, “Tomorrow we might have to go to a crappy job, file our taxes or drop dead, but tonight, this night, belongs to us. We didn’t really know lockdown was coming, but that night had more of an edge to it. It is an ode to the magic and power of one great rock show. Only for a Night is a holy communion for everyone who found a new religion inside of a loud, sweaty music venue”.
As soon as you press play, “Only For A Night” welcomes the listener with some big attention-grabbing riffs. Then, Sandouk vocals come to play with the opening lines, “She’s got the engine humming / all you ever wanted to be free / I’m sick and tired of running, all I ever want’s in front of me”. The delivery has a swagger about its tone. Also, it adds an “I don’t care” kind of attitude.
As it continues, the guitars and drums add more attitude to the mix. In doing so, giving more of an impact on his words. Especially during the repeated words “Only For A Night”. It is a line that excels further as the song comes to a close. There are other moments in which a single repeated line stands out. It’s during the bridge “I got my ticket all the way down / there ain’t nothing you can say now”. The delivery is soft but hypnotic, creating another ear-catching moment.
Howlin’ Circus delivers a modern day anthem with ‘Only for a Night’
Don’t be fooled if you think Howlin’ Circus is all about simplicity. Some of the depth of the lyrics are impressive too. Sandouk gets to paint the scene to perfection with lines such as “She’s got the medication / all you ever needed for the pain / It’s like this separation / all you ever had’s faded away”. As always, his storytelling qualities are a delight on the ears. All these elements come together to deliver another stunning song. Not only that, but it builds the anticipation further for the upcoming album.