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

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Apoteosi - Apoteosi – The Mellow label, run by Mauro Moroni, has probably released more discs in the last year and a half than Musea, Kinetic, Cuneiform and Syn-phonic put together. Dedicated to re-issuing long-lost...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues