Monday, January 14, 2013

Circle Takes the Square - Decompositions Volume 1

It looks like this record is about the see the light of day to the surprise of many. About 6 years ago I caught them playing live at a show where they debuted "Enter By the Narrow Gates", which makes me think the songwriting for this has been going on for some time now. I'm not sure of the nature of the slow process behind the songwriting and production here. 

The band's last record (if you can remember that far back), "As the Roots Undo" was a canvas of long songs which infused elements of technical metal, chaotic hardcore, enunciated vocals along with some influence of chanting at times. "Decompositions" seems to stay the same course, perhaps with a little less chaos and a heavier lean towards the prog rock neighborhood of musicianship.

I'll admit to feeling a bit overwhelmed as a listener by the barrage of unlimited parts and time changes that are getting thrown at me on any given track. Some of the time changes seem a little rough going at times. Perhaps this is just a symptom of the first listen.  The songs seem to flow right into each other mostly, with no pauses, which (on songs of this length) can rob the listener of recognizing the finality of one piece to another.  The production quality here also seems a little unbalanced as it heavily favors the vocals which sometimes out weigh the instrumentation a bit too much. Regardless, there is some very impressive playing on this record. 

Lyrically you get the abstract prose that the band became known for in the early 2000's.  They still maintain the trade off between male and female vocals that create a call/response dynamic at times, while at other times reinforcing each others melodies.

I'm going to give this a few more listens and see if it gels. North Star, Inverted is the one track that really takes a detour from the band's standard fair with it's totally melodic and happy cadence. The interesting thing about Circle Takes the Square is that they do have a very unique sound.  You can put on any track and you know it's them. I have to give them credit for being able to distinguish themselves with such contrast.

Have a listen here