Back in 2005, Panic! At The Disco married debauchery, trip hop and cabaret pop in an open relationship that invited us all to explore the slightly twisted sides of us that others may not have understood. Panic! gave outcast teen emos a place to belong, but what about those of us who never truly left those years behind? For those angsty emos who have metaphorized into aesthetic goths, you are cordially invited to Alice’s Night Circus, a place where souls are lost and have no desire to be found any time soon.
Sheffield born Julia Scott is the ringmaster of Alice’s Night Circus and what an awe-inspiring mistress she is. Walking the tightrope of thrilling theatrics and marvellous modernism, Alice’s Night Circus takes inspiration from the classical training she received as a child and incorporates it with an innovative sound to create electronic, pop punk, rock creations with the power of an all-encompassing opera. ‘Illuminate’, from Alice’s Night Circus’s 2016 album of the same name, is the perfect example of this through the Muse meets Within Temptation sound. Beginning with a playful, electric beat akin to something from Dr Who or IDKHow, ‘Illuminate’ slowly builds up to the dark, spirit lifting chorus that showcases Alice’s Night Circus’s Florence and the Machine-like vocals beautifully. If you argue that ‘Illuminate’ is something you’ve heard before then I present to you ‘Curious World’, beginning with an off-kilter circus tune before bursting into powerhouse vocals and eccentric grandeur that capture you and quickly sweep you away to a whole other plane of musical ingenuity. Alice’s Night Circus is not all about dark and serious, however, but also soaring, fun, twisted, jaunty tunes like ‘Penny Dreadful’ that furthers the narrative focus of the artist’s songs and would fit quite at home in a Tim Burton production.
Alice’s Night Circus is more than music but a way of life with Julia creating her own costumes and accessories for live shows, inspiration drawn from the world of Steampunk – a modern, industrial take on Victorian aesthetic. Her style and looks have been featured at many Steampunk festivals such as one of the largest and longest running in Lincoln, The Asylum. Gary Nicholls will be featuring her in his Imaginarium trilogy which is a photography project centred around Steampunk. After meeting the man, myself, at a Comic Con in Birmingham last year, I can say he is a man who takes his work very seriously and only includes those who are as creative and dedicated to the genre as himself – a seal of approval for Alice’s Night Circus to be included in such a project.
If, like me, you are queuing up outside Alice’s Night Circus for more performances, you will be overjoyed to know she will be unleashing new music in the form of Metamorphose. Yet to be released, the album will no doubt be a weird and wonderful escape if lead track ‘The Show Must Go On’ is anything to judge by. Starting with an isolated, Theremin like tune much like ‘Curious World’ before hitting into that gothic beauty iconic for Alice’s Night Circus. Whilst sounding nothing like Queen’s song of the same name, it holds the same power and sings of accomplishing anything with poetically crafted lyrics. ‘The Show Must Go On’ is inspirational, emotional and captivating, everything Metamorphose is expected to be.
Review by Skye W.Winwood