Circle Takes the Square
As the Roots Undo


5.0
classic

Review

by Vermeer USER (1 Reviews)
July 2nd, 2010 | 380 replies | 16,633 views


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Don't listen to the haters. It's almost worth the gallons of ballwashing saliva that have been shamelessly slathered onto it.

8 of 15 thought this review was well written

Six long years have passed since the release of Circle Takes the Square’s landmark As the Roots Undo, a truly wondrous event in the history of human civilization. Fifty years from now, chroniclers of this recently-bygone first decade of the new millennium will look back on this record as one of the defining moments of the age. A whole generation of white East Coast scenesters, decked out in their girl jeans and white belts, swinging their arms in the pit like epileptic Tourrete’s victims, now found a spokesman in Drew Speziale. They flocked to all of Circle Takes the Square’s small-venue shows in droves so that they could witness the band’s hyperemotional performances firsthand. The Staff of Sputnikmusic.com, the greatest critical minds of their time, instantly recognized As the Roots Undo as a classic. Now that the decade has drawn to a close, they have demonstrated their unmatched wisdom by enshrining the album as the third best of the last ten years.

When listening to As the Roots Undo, one is immediately struck by the musical proficiency and intricate instrumental layering exhibited on each and every track. Bartok could only dream of such compositional mastery; Stravinsky’s modification and artificial elongation of the oboe and English horn in The Rite of Spring seem amateur by comparison. The sagely Alex Silveri was thus absolutely justified when he wrote that “Every instrument [on As the Roots Undo] is stretched to its limits, churning out riffs and beats with a sort of reckless abandonment, reveling in their interwoven fragments of insanity and beauty.” Truer words have never been written. Circle Takes the Square stitches together these fragments into a beautiful and majestic, if “ill-fated,” tapestry. The music is also so frantic and frenzied! All the sudden shifts in tempo and time signature really help you feel the emotional desperation, too. The drums barely manage to keep up with the songs’ metric succession. And don’t think for a minute that the members of Circle Takes the Square are technically incompetent. It’s all part of the band’s ingenious auditory manipulation. Don’t listen to critics; they either just haven’t been initiated yet or they’re simply not open-minded enough to understand As the Roots Undo’s emotional profundity. This is the ultimate “grower” album, people. Even though it sounds like intolerable shit at first, after repeated relistening and constant reassurances from the Sputnik fanbase that you’ll eventually rate it a 5, the cumulative brain damage you suffer will allow you to hear the album’s true beauty.

Not only the instruments contribute to the album’s depth; the dueling vocals of Drew Speziale and Kathy Coppola also play their part. They add immeasurably to the record’s dynamics and textural variation. Kathy brings the attack voice, while Drew provides the elder daemon voice. Their back-and-forth vocal interplay makes for an exciting listening experience. The fact that their voices aren’t the most perfect, that Drew’s voice quivers and whimpers during the clean sections, doesn’t make As the Roots Undo any less enjoyable. It only means that they’re more sincere and emotionally authentic. Circle Takes the Square are loyal followers of the lo-fi ethic. The rougher and sloppier everything sounds, the more it just proves that the band is passionate. As the Roots Undo’s unpolished sound merely makes the album punk as fawk. Still, as the illustrious critic John Hanson observes in a brilliant bit of insight, “instead of becoming shrieky or falling into unintelligible screaming ala many of their contemporaries, Drew and Kathy remain totally recognizable throughout all of the shouting, screaming, voice cracks.” This allows the band’s incredible lyrics to shine through the chaotic instrumentation.

Speaking of the lyrics, Drew Speziale’s writing on As the Roots Undo is “pure poetry,” as the peerless Hanson has put it, the stuff of great literature. Indeed, such wordsmithery as is displayed on this album can only be compared to the writings of those legendary lyricists of old -- to a Sappho or a Pindar, to a young Goethe or Bruce Dickinson. The lyrics abound with inventive rhyme schemes and complex stanzaic structure. Truly wild metaphors, savage and untamed, animate every verse, keeping the album’s “picture plain” from being a dull “central neutral grey, this world’s this worst-case color scheme.” All these poetic techniques Speziale employs to maximum effect, squeezing every last fluid ounce of raw emotion out of each word, nay, each syllable, drenching the listener in tangy bathos. Nothing could be removed or altered, not a single word omitted, without detracting from the poetic perfection of the record. So thorough was Speziale in writing the lyrics to As the Roots Undo that he anticipates potential criticisms and tries to prevent any attempt to submit his lyrics to real analytical scrutiny: “Nothing's so puerile as meter and rhyme when you can't see the ground from that ledge and this perch is so far, far from the nest.” And who cannot relate to the following sentiments, so universal in their emotional import? “Bored as fuck with this street corner-cover. Study of a face in a figure. Surveying this language as a game surveillance of this language as the plague. The dimension of persistence condemns.”

All in all, these elements combine to make As the Roots Undo a modern emo masterpiece, almost worth the gallons of ballwashing saliva that have been shamelessly slathered onto it. Don’t be misled by all the negative publicity the album has received during the recent slew of mean-spirited reviews that have been leveled at it. For as another great representative of the Sputnik Staff, Adam Downer, wrote on July 30th, 2008, “[L]ook, this album rules and everyone knows it, except kattunlover. [Y]ou dont want to be gay like him, do you?”


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Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
July 2nd 2010



15915 Comments


I hesitate to approve this...

Digging: Nero Di Marte - Derivae

Maniac!
July 2nd 2010



26250 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Bullshit. In the nicest way possible.

Ghostechoes
July 2nd 2010



1353 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

For as another great representative of the Sputnik Staff, Adam Downer, wrote on July 30th, 2008, “[L]ook, this album rules and everyone knows it, except kattunlover. [Y]ou dont want to be gay like him, do you?”

I love sarcasm. Pos'd.

fromtheinside
July 2nd 2010



18097 Comments


reviews reads pretentious.

Digging: Transcending Bizarre? - The Serpent's Manifolds

KnuckleChowder
July 2nd 2010



157 Comments


Lol @ quoting other reviews of the same album in your own review.

p.s. Steve Brule creeps me out

ConsiderPhlebas
July 2nd 2010



6157 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

This allows the band’s incredible lyrics shine through the chaotic instrumentation


A 'to' missing here.


fully worth all the mounds of ballwashing saliva


Deserving, rather than worth.


And this does look like me.

porch
July 2nd 2010



8453 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"turrets"

tourettes



ConsiderPhlebas
July 2nd 2010



6157 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

It isn't, man - although it's well put together so I don't mind people thinking that.

porch
July 2nd 2010



8453 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

looks like a disciple of Rembrandt


Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2010



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I'm not going to read this but I bet its a wonderful review!

Locrian
July 2nd 2010



1003 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Dude, don't you DARE say this is better than Bartok or Stravinsky.

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2010



10329 Comments


hey wait a second....he's not being serious! i see what you did there

Digging: Literature - Chorus

ConsiderPhlebas
July 2nd 2010



6157 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I thought the same, Porch. It's a more simplified (albeit quite effective) take on sarcasm, though. I have an inkling of who it might be.

ConsiderPhlebas
July 2nd 2010



6157 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Indeed, such wordsmithery as is displayed on this album can only be compared to the writings of those legendary lyricists of old -- to a Sappho or a Pindar, to a young Goethe or Bruce Dickinson.




This is gold.

Ghostechoes
July 2nd 2010



1353 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Seriously, this should be the standard for "troll" reviews.

ConsiderPhlebas
July 2nd 2010



6157 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Agreed. This is quality sarcasm.

Ire
July 2nd 2010



41754 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm not going to read this but I bet its a wonderful review!



BallsToTheWall
July 2nd 2010



44197 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Kathy brings the attack voice, while Drew provides the elder daemon voice

Digging: My Chemical Romance - Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge

Vermeer
July 2nd 2010



141 Comments


this review is dedicated to the Staff of Sputnikmusic.com, especially John Hanson, Adam Downer, and Alex Silveri

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2010



15732 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

idk finding that quote about kattunlover is pretty creepy that mustve taken some intensive lurking go outside man



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