Moon Duo
Circles


3.5
great

Review

by Hernan M. Campbell STAFF
October 3rd, 2012 | 28 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An haze of psychedelic delight.

There is a certain spellbinding allure that seems to draw the listener into the very center of Circles. Its music is mystical and eccentric, yet surprisingly accessible. The instruments are drenched in harmonic distortion and technical alterations, creating a sonic fog manifested by sounds that emanate a hypnotic haze. Just like Mazes and Escape before it, Circles is yet another venture into the realms of dissonant psychedelia, but while also aspiring to be less experimental and more impactful. The album opens with its definitive highlight, "Sleepwalker", a song comprised by a melodic wall of droning soundscapes. A continual rhythmic groove directs the music of the song, one embellished with repetitive guitar arrangements and cosmic synthesizer ornaments that imitate a subtle Indian aesthetic.

Another highlight of the album is "Trails". A mellifluous and trancing piece that guides our senses into a calming ambience. There is an insistence on a singular melodic sequence that propels most of the songs in the album, and that could either be appealing or utterly diverting for the listener. Like several artists that dwell in shoegaze and noise pop, Moon Duo emphasize on a monotonous musical sound meant to imitate the illusion of hypnosis. And quite frankly, they do succeed in that particular aspect. Circles is embellished with intriguing instrumental thematics and drug-induced lyrical imagery that are sung with a mellow tone so as to augment that euphoric state of mind. Each song is orchestrated under a similar formula, one deployed by indulging in excessive amounts of reverberation and feedback, constructing a wall of sound that is then ornamented with decorative psychedelic effects. And yet even with the album's relentless repetitive nature, the music surpassingly approaches its minimalism with euphonic appeal. A song like "Sparks" perfectly exemplifies the essence of Circles. "Sparks" is entirely composed by layers of cacophonic sounds that are complimented with upbeat drum patterns and catchy vocal arrangements. Blending the anarchical nature of noise textures with the more mellifluous aesthetic of pop structures. It may not be a style of psychedelic music that is instantly lucid, but it does operate under a pleasing melodic demeanor.

"Rolling Out" is yet another captivating moment in Circles, and one of the few songs that manages to follow its own unique path. "Rolling Out" expresses a very prominent influence from 1960's blues rock rather than dissonant shoegaze, giving the music a rather melancholic mood. The guitar abilities of Ripley Johnson really flourish in this song as he executes some of the most technically complex arrangements found on the album. Overall, Circles does prove itself to be an accomplished effort, but it contributes nothing innovative to the psychedelic music scene. It's a rather standard shoegaze album, and one that often relies on the same bag of tricks to capture the attention of the listener. But nevertheless, the appeal of the album can't be denied. It may be a rather generic addition to its affiliated genres, but it is at least a cohesive and enjoyable one at that. Circles is certainly entertaining, but because it has no distinguishing qualities, it's not necessarily infectious. Offering its audience nothing more than a typical psychedelic journey, a musical voyage through metaphysical dimensions meant to riddle the senses with a haze of cosmic delight.



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user ratings (18)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 3rd 2012


19933 Comments


I pos'd. Great review as always you know a lot of music I've never heard of.

Digging: Coldworld - Melancholie

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
October 3rd 2012


3471 Comments


Nice review Paperback, have a pos. No intro though?

And album sounds fantastic, will probably listen later

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 3rd 2012


16455 Comments


Nice, paperback

Digging: Zella Day - Zella Day

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
October 3rd 2012


4443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for the feedback, guys. I had some serious writer's block, so I actually kind of struggled with this review. I hope it reads well.

Calc
October 3rd 2012


12252 Comments


Psychedelia aint my thang but the review is as crisp as always.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
October 3rd 2012


10288 Comments


Advice offers advice. Fitting.

Awesome work as always, Hernan. I've gotta say, it can be hard to work through every single descriptor you create - a bit too many adjectives for me - but I have mad respect for the way you describe music. I spend my time writing about the positioning of an album instead of descriptions because I'm just better at that, and I admire that you have such a knack for it.

Ecnalzen
October 3rd 2012


6706 Comments


You have a very strong vocabulary, sir.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 3rd 2012


6205 Comments


The other band of Erik Johnson, Wooden Shjips, is also worth checking out.

Digging: Seduced (AT) - The Proclamation

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
October 3rd 2012


4443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks you everyone for the feedback.

@Omaha
Thanks, man. You know I admire your writing as well. And yeah, I know what you mean about the adjectives. I'm trying to not go overboard with my descriptions of songs and moods because I do it all the time. In my next review, I'm going to change up my style, do something a little different.

@Advice
Thanks for the advice... advice.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
October 3rd 2012


4443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Voivod
Yeah, I know the Wooden Shjips. I rather like them, and this particular side project as well.

alachlahol
October 3rd 2012


7501 Comments


liked previous material i will investigate this after finishing my french coffee, cigarette, and todays wall street journal

YoYoMancuso
October 3rd 2012


11154 Comments


i love your summary

great work on this, pos'd

alachlahol
October 3rd 2012


7501 Comments


~paperback writer master of psych~

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
October 3rd 2012


4443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@alachlahol
Hope you like it, its certainly a solid album. And thanks.

YankeeDudel
October 3rd 2012


9313 Comments


paperback you ever hear moondog?

Digging: The The - Soul Mining

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
October 3rd 2012


4443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No. I cant say I have.

YankeeDudel
October 3rd 2012


9313 Comments


check him out man he looked like a viking and made some crazy tunes back in the day

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/5f/Moondog.jpg

alachlahol
October 3rd 2012


7501 Comments


and yeah wooden shjips is good

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
October 3rd 2012


4443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Apparently he's blind and an avant-garde Jazz composer- I'm sold. I'm checking this guy out. Thanks for telling me about him.

CaptainDooRight
October 4th 2012


29963 Comments


Solid review for writers block bro. Pos'd

I'll be checkin this eventually.

Digging: Fleurety - Min Tid Skal Komme



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