Review Summary: Like clockwork witchcraft / One must suffer to pass / Suffer to Pass
The one aspect about Circle Takes The Square that continues to astound me release-after-release is their ability to advance so little between albums and EPs and manage to make the most of it. The screamo monarchs have little to hide, as the formula is pretty established by this point. We’ve witnessed their ability to create a sense of drama and story between well-crafted songwriting and ostentatious lyrics, we’ve heard the “pillaging through rubble” and “ooo-hah-ah” chanting effects, and we’ve seen them stretch thin soft-loud dynamics. Still, Circle Takes The Square employs all of this into a surprisingly cohesive and captivating release that revels in its own supposed faults. Decompositions:Volume Number One
is very much a continuation of the band’s ethic, and how much return one receives from it is simply a matter of perspective.
With less than a day’s forewarning, Circle Takes The Square have released their latest Decompositions
piece, the first volume which is a continuation of the Rites of Initiation EP
released last year. The aforementioned EP makes up the first four tracks of the album, and they remain the base, the roots of the album, as the rest branches off from there in the same tenor. Some might mistake the more economic use of space in Decompositions
as “heaviness” or a more “metal” edge, as Rites of Initiation
was described. Rather, the album simply feels more compressed, and the airiness of Roots Undo
is gone. The closer is an anomaly -- but instead of intermissions from screams or crashing guitars, the quieter interludes of Decompositions
, of which there are less, have a sense of existing only to accentuate the more chaotic moments. Winding songwriting that erupts into languished screams with about as much warning as we were given for the release of this album gives the album an aura of super über-complexity, but is that really the case? Maybe it’s simply the fact that I’ve heard As The Roots Undo
’s twists and turns so many times that they’ve become conventional, but Circle Takes The Square employ a rather simple device to their songs. The soft-loud technique where there’s a sing-songy-talkiness that strolls through meandering guitar lines (see: first half “Enter By The Narrow Gates”) is just another platitude by this point, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not effective. Circle Takes The Square have always covered such ground with such a shallow tool because of their ability to stretch it and mold it into this self-aware, overwrought monster of a track. Decompositions
takes these predicatable norms and, with Drew Speziale’s songwriting creativity combined with the convenient lag-time in-between releases, makes the album feel fresh and exuberant. It all depends on perspective. For those eagerly anticipating the followup to As The Roots Undo
, expect more of the same.
Another main strength of a Circle Takes release, and Decompositions
is no exception, are the keystones of catharsis riddled throughout. The obvious, preferential moments are the first and last tracks (the latter ditches the piercing screams for a mewithoutYou-esque, story-telling venture among dancing guitar lines that basically epitomizes everything so atrocious/awesome about CTTS) with the middle mostly filling out the highlights, giving it a body and insides. It’s important to note that Volume One
epitomizes the band’s ability to create gargantuan albums in terms of both scope and run-time and not have them seem too big for their own good -- it isn’t overlong, and there’s plenty more to uncover in the bulk of the middle tracks. “Singing Vengeance Into Being” has a particularly strong bite, and “Prefaced By The Signal Fires” has an interesting anthemic quality to it that isn’t nearly as present in past tracks. Still, like I keep harkening back to, this is still the same band employing the same techniques, and they still end up with a product better-than-average, especially in this age of lessened screamo competition. There’s nothing coercive about Decompositions
. It will presumably to little to convert many to their camp; but again, perspective is paramount. Always been uninspired with the band’s flair for the overdramatic? At least give Circle Takes The Square credit for their candor and ability to mold something that should, by all means, be atrocious into something that’s utterly captivating for so many. Those that were astounded by As The Roots Undo
, prepare to be presently surprised as to how fresh and exuberant Circle Takes The Square makes it all seem on Decompositions
. I can see the merit of both camps, but I’ll be damn
ed if I wouldn’t rather be in the latter, reveling in everything so overwrought and meticulously-crafted by CTTS on their latest-released behemoth.... poetry-spouting, shrill-shrieking, behemoth.