Exposé Online banner

Circa — Circa: 2007
(Purple Pyramid CLP 0357-2, 2007/2013, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2009-07-01

Circa: 2007 Cover artThe continuing saga of Billy Sherwood finds him following up his efforts on Yes albums like Open Your Eyes and his collaboration with Chris Squire (Conspiracy) with an album of songs that sounds a lot like both. The Yes connection is solidified by the presence of Alan White on drums and Tony Kaye on keyboards, plus longtime associate Jimmy Haun proves himself the best Steve Howe imitator going today. To top it off, both Sherwood’s bass work and singing echo Squire’s characteristic sound. Those familiar with Sherwood’s work in and out of Yes will instantly recognize his trademark compositional style that blends complex rock riffs and intricate arrangements with soaring melodies and rich harmonic textures. It’s an approach that can be extremely powerful, as demonstrated by tracks “Trust in Something” and the epic “Brotherhood of Man.” The wall of sound backs off a bit on “Look Inside” with Tony Kaye offering up some nice organ work, though he’s largely transparent otherwise. However, as often as I was mesmerized by the music I also found my attention drifting away and too often the arrangements lacked a discernible through-line or sense of thematic backbone. Rockers like “Cut the Ties” solve this by using a bass riff to propel the song along, though songs like “Life Going By” seem little more than exercises in multi-track vocal mixing. Circa has great potential, but I just wish Billy Sherwood would step out of Yes and Chris Squire’s shadow. So far that has yet to happen.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 37, 2013 releases, 2007 recordings

Related artist(s): Circa, Alan White, Tony Kaye, Billy Sherwood

Latest news

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Hiromi's Sonicbloom - Time Control – Japanese jazz pianist Hiromi Uehara's previous releases have all borne the name "Hiromi" and basically consisted of her standing trio of bassist Tony Grey and drummer Martin Valihora. Guitarist David...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues