Circle - Meronia [Ektro Records - 2007]This is a highly welcome reissue of Circle's first album from 1994, which I’m sure many won’t have heard before. It has all the familiar Circle elements in place i.e. locked rocking grooves, musically genre pick ‘n’ mix and general adventurous, playful vibe. But with a more indie/ post- rock feel to the tracks, also the songs are in a smaller bite size than their later sprawling work- filling here 70 minutes with 15 tracks.
The vocals for the most part are less quirky and strange as later material , they sort of sound of indie monk/chant that in places sound a little Julian Cope like and sometimes drop into to more demonic blacked grows. Most of the material here feels a lot denser and packed in, there are only a few moments of space, this has a manic urgency about it all that gives the whole thing a great adrenaline rush feel. A few stand out moments come in the form of: The title track with it’s slowly indie/ post-rock bassy atmospherics with almost something of Joy division to it. Later on keyboard appears that have a sort of melancholy slowed pop vibe, as well as a touch of nice violin. Before sloping off to become a bit mess and slightly avant punked, towards the end. The track Colere with it’s plonky piano sentiments and eastern melody violin swirls that alternates nicely between been awkward and beautiful. Merid with its panic guitar runs and slamming bass lines that rather brought to mind an Voivod air, with indie monk vocals that go all demonic and demented as the track progresses.
So there's a lot to like and love here if you’re a Circle fan,but just as always with circle don’t expect the expected. All in all an impressive and attitude filled debut coming with a interesting booklet with write-ups/reminisces about the albums original release ect, and pics of very young looking circle.Roger Batty