There’s a refreshing purity in the music of Circles, a purity borne out of friendship and the love of musical self-expression done for its own sake. The members of this Chicago-Milwaukee four-piece have been active in numerous bands these past fifteen years (fifteen years?!) (Radar Eyes, Football, Ponys, etc.), and like Spinal Tap circa ’67, they’ve “toured the world, and elsewhere,” but in this project, like all good Midwesterners worth much more than a runny PBR turd, they’ve eschewed the bicoastal trappings of showbiz for the workman effort and joy of writing quality songs. What Circles lacks in “marketability,” kitschy 90’s clothing, and two-chord party anthems about the consumption of fast food, they gain in thoughtful and finely polished songs covering everything from death to birth, from cursed lives to the biography of Archie Shepp.
On their debut album, Shadowgraph, this purity of purpose shines through in a prismatic and jaunty guitar-organ driven swirl of pensive post-pop. The music is filled with the immediacy and drive that has characterized the members’ 2000’s garage roots, but tempered by the wisdom of the comedy and tragedy of this too-short life. While “All My Friends are Dead” is a driving-direct song about what you think it’s about, “Little Moon” is an achingly beautiful song about a newborn daughter. The album concludes in a spirited cover of Toy Love’s “Photographs of Naked Ladies,” and the overall effect from hearing these twelve songs is the idea that it’s almost impossible to believe that this is a debut album, as it’s so assured and skilled as it is in songcraft. The musical and lyrical space explored in Shadowgraph portends exciting possibilities for Circles, possibilities always rooted in the joy and camaraderie inherent in making music with some of your closest friends.
Includes unlimited streaming of Shadowgraph
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