Circulus: Thought Becomes Reality

ctbrRaised as I was on vinyl, I often think that when a band starts with a track most would save for the finale it says quite a lot about their intentions. South London’s early music/wyrd folk/psych outfit Circulus begin their third album with ‘Transmuting Power’ as if they’re slapping doubters in the face with a mailed gauntlet, in an admittedly courtly and fey way. The first three and a half minutes are fairly straightforward, even if front-bard Michael Tyack seems in gloomier mood than usual. Still, as the mushroom clouds bloom over the cities, the flutes start piping away, and the UFOs arrive to take us away to a new planet. This last bit isn’t a metaphor, by the way, that’s the theme of the song, and possibly of the rest of the album too. ‘Many lightyears from here we will resettle’, promises Tyack. ‘Evacuate and colonise!’ cries an alien voice. ‘Grab the sunny spots!’

It’s songs like this that make some people really angry about Circulus. Driving through London with this album blasting through the open windows has a peculiar effect on passers-by; they start peering round, wondering what’s going on. Some smile, others grind their teeth. If you don’t like it, or think they’re not 4REAL, avoid this band like the buboes. If you’re wondering whether your cloak needs a dry clean, read on.

The first Circulus album, The Lick On An Envelope Yet To Be Sent, had a strong streak of 70s/90s acid electronica running through it, and I missed this element of their sound on the more straightforward follow up, Clocks Are Like People. Thought Becomes Reality has added distorted guitar to ‘Fortunate Ones’ and ‘Trotto’, recapturing the slightly unhinged element necessary to cut through the sweetness of all the folkery. On that note, ‘Michael’s Garden’ sounds like the strangely childish folk collected on Fuzzy Felt Folk, and there is a cracking version of 13th century polyphonic banger ‘Summer Is Icumen In’. Something for everyone, then, especially if you’re looking for the sort of people Chaucer might look askance at. As my wise friend noted, Circulus have hit a purple patch recently and this is well worth tracking down. ‘Transmuting Power’ is certainly worthy of the band responsible for ‘Power To The Pixies’. My only criticism is that it’s less than forty minutes long, but in this mediocre world I’d settle for much less.

Transmuting Power‘ – Circulus – Thought Becomes Reality

Fortunate Ones‘ – Circulus – Thought Becomes Reality

Buy here. Much more on their Myspace page.



About jkneale

BothBarsOn's London correspondent.

Posted on July 25, 2009, in Album reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Brilliant! The image of you driving round Sarf London with this and cloak on is marvellous.

  2. There’s a reason there are so many violent attacks down here, you know…

  3. Great review. Checking them out right now.

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