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Circa - Circa CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.33 | 48 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars I've often found during the years that the most enduring relationships are couples where the partners are aware of each others' flaws, and love each other in spite of them. I say this because I really do love this album, but man, does it have some serious blemishes.

Understand that in my heart I really want to give this album five stars; I listen to it often, enjoy it immensely and consider it to be the best release of 2007. However, considering what I'm about to mention, my rational mind tells me I must settle for four. I'd give it 4.5 if such a thing was possible here.

It did take me a while to get into the album, and if it hadn't been for the Yes connection, I might well have dismissed it, for a couple of reasons. First of all, the production is muddy on anything but the best of speakers or headphones, and since I do most of my listening either at the computer or on the go in my PSP...well, that didn't do it any favors.

Second, the vocals are almost uniformly strained and are what really shows this up as not being Yes (because there are plenty of passages where you could have been fooled otherwise). I don't know if it's a conscious choice to sound all gravelly and forced, but it doesn't work in this context, giving certain sections a really unfortunate AOR-type feel.

Third, the lyrics range from bland down to terrible, with many clichéd turns of phrase, cringe-worthy obvious rhymes and simplistic sentiments. This, however, is nothing unusal in Prog. There are precious few really skilled lyricists in the genre, so I've gotten used to ignoring the words, but there are places here where it gets really hard to. (Only you can turn your life around/Given half a chance/You could be so much more/Look inside yourself - What is this? A Tony Robbins seminar?)

Finally, a minor complaint. The track listing really isn't optimal, Try listening to Side 2 first, going 6789-12345. It makes much more sense that way, building slowly to a good climax. Instead of bursting out of the gate and then sagging a bit in the middle

Alright, so despite all that, I love it. Why? Because the songwriting is superb; near enough to catchiness to appeal to the average listener yet often quirky enough to hold the interest of the more careful ear. And the performances are great. Sherwood plays a mean Squire, Haun manages to be both Rabin and Howe in one and Kaye and White are as good as they've ever been.

Some people online have compared this album to Talk, but don't be fooled. This is miles better than that (not that that's a difficult task), rarely - if ever - falling into the trap of schmaltz without substance or lengthiness without purpose. Each section leads logically and inevitably to the next, just like good Prog should and when you try to recall exactly how one went, it's just tantalizingly out of reach so you have to listen to the album again.

Unfortunately there's no download option for purchasing the album and the self-released CD is surprisingly expensive considering that it's a medium that's dying largely because of cost. I'm sure those are big factors in the fact that as of this writing only two reviews of this album are up here on PA.

Teaflax | 4/5 |


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