Exposé Online banner

Emmerhoff & the Melancholy Babies — Circle Six
(Apollon Records AP017, 2018, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-08-25

Circle Six Cover art

Circle Six is my first encounter with this Bergen band that’s been around since the mid-90s and recording since 1999. It is their sixth album, so I headed to Youtube to check out some of their earlier music for comparison. I found an appealing combination of rock songwriting with some country and folk influences, with solid instrumental work and good vocals — I’ve seen it described as “dark cowboy pop.” It was good, but Circle Six seems to mark an increase in sophistication. There aren’t many banjos in the mix, but there are many nice factors present, including a touch of space rock that works really well. It’s not like they’re turning into Hawkwind or anything, but “Boreas” hits you with a driving riff right out of the gate that would be at home on an album by one of the many Scandinavian space jam bands. A brief interlude with acoustic guitar and phase-shifted synth strings provides a great contrast before the riff resumes. At the end, the acoustic section trails off gradually for two minutes. It’s a master class in arrangement, and a sign that these guys really know what they’re doing. “Koral” shows another side of the band, a psych-tinged track built around a great acoustic guitar part with a vaguely Indian sounding riff that’s sometimes doubled on an electric. Motorpsycho would be a good reference, as long as you stick to their less-prog, more-psych albums like Phanerothyme. “Desert Ritual” is another absolute winner, an energetic rocker with a rollicking triple-time beat and a bright, catchy melody. In the last third, it takes a weird diversion into massive power chords and trippy keyboard sounds. For those outside of Norway who are unfamiliar with this band, the move to Apollon Records should bring some well-deserved attention. Circle Six is an excellent album, mature but not stodgy, finely crafted but not sterile, a beautiful set of tunes that shows how growth can result in great art.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Emmerhoff & the Melancholy Babies

More info
http://emmerhoff.bandcamp.com/album/circle-six

Latest news

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Radiohead - OK Computer – We can all think of examples of a progressive band over time starting to play music more in the mainstream (Genesis, Yes, pick your example), but how many times have we seen a mainstream band, as...  (1998) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues