Circa: Now!, Rocket From the Crypt's second album, represents the toughening up and expansion of the band's sound. Never content to play their punk rock by the book, the band uses dynamics, songcraft, and the sax of Apollo 9 to add texture and power to their rock hard guitar-bass-drums foundation. The album was recorded as the band was barricaded inside a L.A. studio during the April 1992 riots that tore the city apart. Some of the songs like the frantic "Killy Kill," "Short Lip Fuser," and "Dollar" are back-to-the-wall rockers that sound like the work of a band in the middle of something heavy. Elsewhere the band shows it isn't afraid to get melodic on the Soul Asylum-influenced "Hairball Alley." They aren't afraid to strip the guitars back and get atmospheric either as the Brill Building punk ballad "March of Dimes" illustrates. The truly epic track on the album that points toward the brilliance of 1995's Scream, Dracula, Scream! is "Ditch Digger," a track with amazing dynamics and a bullfighter's bravado that actually threatened to become a hit in the crazy post-Nirvana daze of 1992. Speaking of post-Nirvana madness, after Circa: Now! was released on Cargo/Headhunter the band became the subject of a frantic major-label bidding war which Interscope won after throwing a ridiculous wad of cash at the band. Circa: Now! isn't their best work; Scream, Dracula, Scream! takes that honor with RFTC close behind, but it is an album that will help clear out any lingering post-grunge hard feelings about the early '90s with a blast of good old-fashioned rock & roll energy, and that is nothing to sneer at.