If like us you were excited by the debut A Favour For A Stranger EP from UK alternative rock band Circle Of Reason, you are going to be grinning from ear to ear with their new release, the These Hands And This Mind EP. The five track EP realises all the promise of its predecessor and more. It is a release which aligns itself with thoughts and emotions with reflective and evocative potency whilst coaxing the passions further with sounds which caress, rumble through, and energise the ear with a maturer imagination capturing craft. Hopes of greater things from the band in the wake of their previous EP were inevitable and rich but the Southampton quartet now makes it feel like we short changed their potential with the outstanding release.
Since forming the foursome of vocalist/guitarist Simon Osman, guitarist Gary Slade, bassist Sam Cogher, and drummer Andy Milwain, have earned a strong reputation through their live performances alone which has seen them play with the likes of Feed The Rhino, Marmozets, Girlschool, Lafaro, Fighting With Wire, The Smoking Hearts, Landscapes, Inme, Zico Chain, Attention Thieves, and more. Their video singles and the A Favour For A Stranger EP equally built up their stance, garnering acclaim and widespread national coverage from the underground media to the likes of Big Cheese Magazine, Scuzz TV, Kerrang TV, and Lava. Already having earned comparisons to the likes of Coheed and Cambria, Soundgarden, and The Smashing Pumpkins, Circle of Reason are now ready to step onto higher levels and with These Hands And This Mind they have made an impressive first step.
Released Monday 29th July, the EP steps forward first with the single from the release Don’t Be Still. It is an instantly appealing mix of punchy rhythms and fiery guitar caresses around the ear, the air soon heated and thick from the sonic and passionate endeavour. As the again impressive tones of Osman stand astride the creative sounds with rich expression and emotive potency aided with the equally notable backing vocals of Cogher, the song wraps its sinewy intensity and melodic flames tightly around thoughts and passions. With only the disjointed break midway a minor niggle the song leaves a starting to stir ardour smouldering in its wash though it takes the following pair of songs to truly ignite its hunger.
Next up Home is a slowly burning triumph; its initial vocal and guitar welcome a glorious tender lure which only suggests you should share its company, though this persuasion is soon heightened as the bass of Cogher offers darker shadows and the beats of Milwain frame it all with rhythmic concentration. It is when the track erupts and expels its fullest sinews of energy and passion though, subsequently merging both aspects into a scintillating progressive adventure, that the song rips full submission from the heart. It is a mountain of a piece which alone shows how far the band has come and evolved in sound and songwriting whilst still offering a promise of much more. As with the first EP, there is a strong feel of eighties band The Mighty Lemon Drops to Circle of Reason, vocally and emotionally which is most apparent in the equally stunning Themes Amongst Thieves. Riffs and rhythms carve out a terrific flight of metallic excellence which leaves lungs breathless whilst vocally once more Osman swoops across the rugged landscape with a grace hand in hand with the melodic elegance that permeates every breath the song takes. The two songs easily steal top honours on the EP and do not be surprised if they, and especially the second of the pair, turn up as the next single.
The following Novel also has a vigorous presence to its structure with guitars coarse flames across the cage of rhythmic demands but equally it explores its heart and emotive depths with a melodic and progressive adventure which is mesmeric and passion driven. Like all songs and the EP as a whole, the track just gets better and better with each dramatic engagement and leaves the appetite for the band verging on feverish.
The closing Sleep is a slow croon which captivates musically and vocally. It does not quite spark the passions as powerfully as other tracks but still leaves the richest flavour on the appetite and provides further evidence of the evolution of the band already and ahead.
These Hands And This Mind has marked Circle Of Reason as one of the most thrilling emerging bands in UK rock and with you feel so much more to come. Really it is hard not to be excited about this band.
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