Circles – The Last One (2018)

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A long time coming and well worth the wait. If distance makes the heart grow fonder then I’d say we’re about to fall head over heels for this band again.

It’s not from an absence in the scene either. They’ve been toughing it out on the road, scored some great tours and undergone some significant line-up changes behind the scenes as I learnt from my recent talk with Circles drummer David Hunter here. In fact, they wrote this album a year ago and we’re only just getting to hear it now. That’s sounds like one hell of a gamble BUT holding out as long as they have might have meant the difference in avoiding major releases from contemporaries and the public getting to drink up this release with full attention. Not just as ‘another release’ this month.

So some changes have occurred since we last heard from the band. I mean more than the switch up of vocalists.They still do the bouncy/djent bits and jarring out-of-nowhere changes that set them apart in the early days. See the album opener ‘Winter’ for the best evidence of this with its jarring switches and confusing riffs that break in and out of place. What you may also notice is those notable features are less and less frequent throughout the album and much stronger song writing has emerged. The stylistic growth now puts Circles in a more competitive market where bigger fish like Dead Letter Circus, Hands Like Houses and Karnivool occupy.

It’s easy to predict big wins for the band moving forward armed with songs like ‘The Messenger’ with its subdued guitars and spacious chords ringing out leaving room for Ben to sing and carry the melody. There’s a great break at the 2 minute mark where the bass thrums and the ambience builds up around it into a huge crescendo that would have felt completely out of place on earlier works..but this is the band sounding more cohesive and focussed than before. Its as if no one is competing for attention and everything is complimenting the song. Not just forcing ‘cool’ bits together.

The guitars do sound better this time round though. They were always good, but now they’re killer. The range of tones, sounds and effects they drop in from moment to moment feel uniquely placed for maximum effect rather than just a ‘wow’ effect. I noticed it immediately. This will be a headphone-album for sure.

Drums are just ridiculous. I can’t say enough for the pure talent and marksmanship here. Speaking of which just wait till you hear ‘Dream Sequence’ for some tasty drumming, frantic kicks and fills topped with shredding that would make even the hardest player weak at the knees. It could easily have been lifted from the first TesseracT album (a compliment in my books).

Beyond the production (which is world class) you have these fascinating ambient and dynamic sections that alter the feeling and energy of the songs which already range from anthems to prog-bombs. The contrast is biggest when listening through from track to track. The albums last 2 pieces are a great example of this. ‘Blueprints For A Great Escape’ is nothing short of ambitious and aggressive but (completely with the tell-tale glitchy bits and synth tones) it’s followed by the most gradual and incremental build up on ‘Alone With Ghosts’. The track placement serves the overall album really well and suggests the group has had plenty of time to map it out. Prepare for surprises.

In summary: Circles return to form and explore some seriously ambitious new territory. It sounds massive and it’s going to have you bouncing and nodding your head. ‘The Last One‘ is a significantly different work to previous material but all the better for it. A very SOLID contender for AOTY (personally speaking) with many more listens ahead for me. Loved it. If nothing else Circles prove that the world is right to be jealous of us in Australia right now with bands like this in our backyard. Its a stunning release that will yield many many repeat listens.

Check the video for the latest single lifted form this monster ‘Tether’.

 

Album is live from August 31 and is available in a variety of packs and options. It’s going to be worth it.

Click here to order form your choice of retailer:  http://hyperurl.co/circlestlo

Or go direct and select a cool package deal: https://wildthing-store.com/collections/circles-the-last-one-designs

 

Oh yeh..and they’re touring for the rest of their lives too apparently. See below.

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