Circle - Rautatie [Ektro Records - 2010]“Rautatie” is the 34th full length record from this quirky yet always rewarding Finnish group who specialize in locked rock grooves & multi-genre mixing. This time around the collective boil up and distil: 80’s power rock, AOR and post punk, heroic yet cheesy 70’s rock, punk rock riffing, hypnotic bass bound Krautrock, repetitive classical/jazzy piano textures, and moody /creative sound tracking elements into their distinctive and instantly recognizable sound.
Following on from their last album 2009 “Hollywood” most of the songs here are a lot shorter and less wondering then some of the bands past work. The eight songs on offer here last between just over the three minute mark to just over the eight minute mark, but unlike “Hollywood” this sounds more risky, playful and Circle like again. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed “Hollywood” and appreciate what they were attempting to do, but at times it felt just a little too safe and controlled for it’s own good.
All of the tracks on offer here see the band very cleverly mixing and brewing together various (often surprising) musical genres elements into highly cohesive and balanced set of songs that are daring and playful yet atmospheric and oddly majestic. Pretty much all of the eight songs on offer here are great, and each shines well in it’s own individual right. But a few of my stand out moments come in the form of : the pumping 80’s synth lined rock meets prog guitar texturing layers of “Vaellus” which is topped off with heroic and swooning Finnish male. The deeply sinister and descending 70’s soundtrack dread of “Lautatarha” which finds circle building such a great creepy and dread-filled vibe with a mixture of doomed/off-kilter bass, guitar, string textures, synth, subtle percussive detail and mournful vocals. Or the last track “Kaasukello” which starts out mixing poignant and felt classical piano ornateness with a clamouring and speedy metallic chugging beats. Then at the tracks mid-way point it moves into epic and flamboyant 80’s synth metal atmospherics that’s topped with grand and layered power metal harmonizing.
so in summing-up “Rautatie” is a splendid and well thought-out rock record that’s fun, creative and effortlessly with it’s muilt-genre mixing. And it's easily one of the best rock bound records of 2010.Roger Batty