CIRCULUS – Clocks Are Like People (Rise Above)

Seven-piece Scandinavian medieval folkies Circulus have delivered the follow-up to their debut of last year, which was one of most unusual and enjoyable albums of 2005. The band have slimmed down from their original nine-piece, and they seem to have dragged themselves in the 20th Century in terms of their songwriting, with the medieval folk giving way to the more recent variety from the 50’s and 60’s, and so they now sound more like Fairport Convention than 16th Century troubadours. Michael Tyack and the band have written some good songs for this album, and with the wealth of instrumental talent available they can bring them to life. ‘Dragon’s Dance’ is a good example of their new direction, with the flute keeping the folk feel while the song structure and music are almost prog rock. ‘Willow Tree’ is another good mix of old and new folk, with a memorable hook and melodic tune. Lo Polidoro takes lead vocal on ‘Wherever She Goes’, with the mix of male and female lead vocals ringing the changes, and their harmonising on ‘To The Fields’ sounds even better. I thought the traditional ‘Bourée’ might be the Jethro Tull fave, but even though it isn’t it is still a nice little tune played on a mix of traditional and modern instruments. ‘This Is The Way’ is one of the most ‘folk’ sounding tracks, with Will Summers’ flute and Oliver Parfitt’s moog giving it an otherworldly feel. ‘Reality’s A Fantasy’ ends the album with the band’s oddest song. With a vocal that sounds like it is being relayed from outer space and an out there lyric, this has the feel, if not the execution of that debut. If you can get your hands on the gatefold sleeve vinyl edition of the album you get an exclusive track on a white single-sided 7” single. ‘Tapestry’ is actually one of the best tracks on the album, with its almost commercial chorus and more modern feel to the music. A worthy successor to ‘A Lick On The Tip…’, showing the band progressing and not just sticking to a tried and tested formula.