Exposé Online banner

Circuline — Return
((Not on label) no#, 2015, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-03-02

Return Cover art

For newcomers to reading Exposé, it’s worth noting that for much of the first ten years of our existence, our reviewers devoted a lot of ink to writing negative things about the genre (or sub-genre) of Neo-Prog, that stream of 80s and 90s rock music that utilized some of the sounds of 70s progressive rock, but simplified it with elements of 80s pop, New Wave, and rock. But even the most snobbish writers would admit that it wasn’t all bad: some bands in the Neo category were actually worth listening to. That was a long time ago, and to a certain extent that attitude has mellowed a bit (or maybe there’s just been turnover in writing staff). And the passage of time also means that musicians can be influenced by both classic prog and Neo at the same time. (After all, musicians are often more open-minded about music than reviewers are.) Circuline is a band with two basic sides. Several of the tracks on Return are song-oriented, with prominent keyboards and relatively straightforward arrangements. These are impeccably performed, with both of the singers (Natalie Brown and Billy Spillane) sounding ultra-professional, completely on pitch and enunciating clearly, reminding me of singers with musical theater experience. Guitar, keyboards, bass, and drums provide solid backing, but many of these songs seem a little on the safe side. One of the highlights of the vocal tracks is what happens halfway through “One Wish”: a heavy, aggressive guitar part interjects between wandering piano notes, then ushers in a long instrumental section with a killer riff and some nice playing all around. It’s a taste of the band’s other side, which involves instrumental work that is sometimes fairly edgy. There are a few short interludes without vocals, often featuring some stellar solos from both guitar (Bill Shannon) and keys (Adnrew Coyler). These workouts culminate with “Fallout Shelter,” which starts out with eerie high-pitched synthesizers and builds slowly to a freaky guitar solo backed by heavy, ominous keyboard chords and drums. The album finishes off with “Silence Revealed,” which bridges both sides of Circuline. This vocal track’s middle section features a ripping violin solo from Joe Deninzon which really drives the band to new heights. A great way to finish of a very promising debut.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Stratospheerius (Joe Deninzon), Circuline

Latest news

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Copernicus - Disappearance – If Van Halen’s David Lee Roth decided to drop it all and become an obtuse beat poet, that may create a small avenue of interest into the ramblings of Copernicus. There is no doubt that plenty of...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues