The first Breaking Circus record most likely comes across as the least rocked-out of their three Homestead releases to most ears, seeing as it features only Steve Björklund and a drum machine, plus one other guy. That shouldn't fool anyone into thinking that this thing doesn't have the hits, though, because underneath the somewhat fragile presentation lies some great friggin' songs-- a fact that became even more apparent once Flour and Todd Trainer were on board. Beyond what their records may tell you, as a live band Breaking Circus had the ability to take any one of their songs and turn it into a ruthless oi!-metal attack.
The disquieting "Knife In The Marathon" seemed like a throwaway to me the first time I heard it, but it became to be the centerpiece of "The Very Long Fuse" for most people, with its striking repetitive lyric unfolding like a newspaper article being read ("An unidentified third-world athlete was wrestled to the ground by security... they said he had a knife in the marathon"). As you dig in further past the first couple of tracks, other coolness reveals itself at every turn: "Morning", with its "ohh ohhh ohhh" refrain, is put together like an early "Basement Screams"-type Naked Raygun song, and the knock and the sound of the opening chords to "Monster's Sanctuary" is one of my favorite parts of any Breaking Circus record.
The indisputable masterstroke here, though, is "The Imperial Clawmasters' Theme", which is only one of the most hilariously-great songs ever written. "Stupid little zeros with the courage of a rollerskate, we represent what you most fear! 7,941 undefeated amateur bouts, and now we're turning pro!" "We've got a master plan and it goes like this: Gagne... DEAD! Patera... DEAD! Von Erichs... DEAD! Heenan... DEAD!" Twenty-something years later, and it still almost kills me every time I hear it.
Breaking Circus -
"Knife In The Marathon"
"The Imperial Clawmasters' Theme"