The Rickety Old Shack

Kyuss — ...And The Circus Leaves Town

album cover

One of the universal truths in life is that all good things come to pass, and in the case of Kyuss there was no exception. After maintaining an intense touring and recording schedule over the course of 4 years — releasing as many albums in that time — the wheels began to fall off. Following the recording sessions for the group's previous album, Welcome To Sky Valley, drummer Brant Bjork left the band and was replaced by the quite capable Alfredo Hernandez. At this point, Kyuss had been working themselves exceptionally hard and had replaced 1/2 of their original roster. Luckily for fans, this did not affect the quality of their output too much.

...And The Circus Leaves Town was subject to less hype and excitement than its predecessors — likely due to the band breaking up within a year of its release — but the record is still very solid. Interestingly, this album also yielded the band's first and only video single, "One Inch Man." While all of the band's trademark qualities are still present, there is definitely a palpable feeling that everyone was probably working on this material independently. It's not all that noticeable at first, but after listening to this album for almost 2 decades — and comparing it to the rest of the Kyuss discography — there is a different feel to this one.

In spite of any reservations about relationships between the band members when ...And The Circus Leaves Town was recorded, the album includes a number of choice cuts and there is nothing even remotely bad or phoned-in. The previously mentioned "One Inch Man," "Hurricane," "Size Queen," and "Catamaran" (which is a cover of a song by Hernandez' previous band, Yawning Man) are the notable tracks but all are worth your time and attention. If anything, the break-up of the band serves to detract from the quality of this album, and it shouldn't — they went out on the highest note possible, I would say. This may be a less spacey, jam-laden album as the two previous releases but the material is still tight and enjoyable.

The only vague criticism I have of ...And The Circus Leaves Town is that the vocals are even more sparse than on past albums, and I have always enjoyed John Garcia's trademarked voice and lyrical absurdities. It's not a huge problem, but it bears mention; otherwise, this record provides a healthy dose of everything that makes Kyuss engaging and unique. Josh Homme's song writing is sharp as ever, and his fuzzy, massive tone is still present, and Scott Reeder's bass serves as the perfect low-end accompaniment. Alfredo Hernandez, for his short tenure in the band, did a great job lending the same percussive style as Brant Bjork did — not aping him exactly, but suiting the music just as well as his predecessor. Lastly, John Garcia sounds great as well, when he's actually present.

While it was unfortunate that Kyuss seemed to burn twice as bright, but for half as long, the fact remains that we got 3 of the best stoner rock albums ever produced. The band ended their existence with a release that is well above serviceable, even if there is no question that the previous 2 albums were superior. ...And The Circus Leaves Town is every bit deserving to be included in the same sentence as Blues For The Red Sky and Welcome To Sky Valley, even if it fell slightly short of the established watermark.


The final instalment in the Kyuss discography, and a respectable end point for a seminal act in the underground rock world. Josh Homme would go on to have breakout success with his next project, Queens Of The Stone Age and the rest of the band's members enjoyed their own measures of success — and recorded with an endless number of other musicians. ...And The Circus Leaves Town is as good of a final album as any band could hope for, even if that may not have been the members' intentions at the time. If you are at all interested in Kyuss, or stoner rock in general, this record is also required listening — along with the band's previous 2 albums.

Album Information

Release date: July 11th, 1995
Record label: Elektra Records

John Garcia — vocals
Josh Homme — guitar
Scott Reeder — bass
Alfredo Hernandez — drums

Track Listing

  1. Hurricane
  2. One Inch Man
  3. Thee Of Boozeroony
  4. Gloria Lewis
  5. Phototropic
  6. El Rodeo
  7. Jumbo Blimp Jumbo
  8. Tangy Zizzle
  9. Size Queen
  10. Catamaran
  11. Spaceship Landing

—by Derek

Published: July 30th, 2014.

Edited: February 18th, 2018.