On the back of a collection of releases which have taken ears and enjoyment on an adventurous ride, anticipation for the debut album from British alternative rock band Circle Of Reason has been rife and ripe for quite a while. The wait is now almost over and a new creative escapade from the Southampton quartet waiting to be greedily devoured; a reaction hard to see Faith Or Theory missing out on.
Emerging in 2011, Circle Of Reason was soon stirring up their local scene before poking at broader recognition a year later with their excellent debut EP, A Favour For A Stranger. Led by outstanding single Silver Scene, the three-track introduction lit the ears and spirit whilst revealing the potential of bigger and bolder things to come. And so they did with a big leap in the These Hands & This Mind EP of 2013/14. With their music inspired by the likes of Mastodon, Deftones, Biffy Clyro, Muse, and Queens Of The Stone Age, the second EP showed the band developing their own distinct and eventful sound. There was a new imagination fuelled character to it without defusing the already established fire and creative enterprise in their sound and an increasingly renowned live presence seeing Circle Of Reason share stages with bands such as Feed The Rhino, Marmozets, Neck Deep, Inme, Mallory Knox, Heck, Allusondrugs, Freeze The Atlantic, Breed 77, Zico Chain and many more over the years.
The past months has seen a slight line-up change and the creation of Faith Or Theory. It too is an open step on from past triumphs; bringing a bolder maturity and imaginative zeal with its fascinating body that demands attention. Opening with the band’s new upcoming video/single, Never Enough, the album has ears gripped within its first sound bulging seconds. Instantly a barrage of thumping beats and hungry riffs collude to envelop the senses, spicy grooves emerging from the inviting tempest to entice an already eager appetite. Straight away there is something unique to the band’s proposal from the start but also their recognisable hunger and energy to take ears on a new adventure. As the song expands into a web of melodic enterprise and rhythmic tenacity, the tones of vocalist/guitarist Simon Osman quickly hit the mark, reminding of his already established quality and emotive expression. The same applies throughout the band, in the evocative strains of Gary Slade’s guitar inventive bait and the growly hues of bass from its newest member, he only going by the name of Rob so far, which add an almost bestial edge to the enjoyably raw air and roar of the track’s fiery escapade.
The great start is soon eclipsed by Questions, it too holding a heavier and enjoyably intimidating essence to its virulent proposal. The versatile swinging beats of Andy Milwain leave no spot unmarked whilst the hooks of Osman and addictive grooves of Slade swiftly get under the skin with their melodic colour and varied flavouring. At times there is a touch of Reuben to the song, other moments of bands like Freeze The Atlantic, and persistently a tapestry of rock and alternative spicing keeping things inventively unpredictable whilst making it easy to be caught up in the contagion.
My Emergency steps up next with a less intrusive and imposing nature yet it too has a tempestuousness to its energy and emotion which intrigues as it whips up another increasingly robust and catchy affair. Backing harmonies court Osman’s ever impressing delivery whilst guitar and bass almost entwine like lovers in their infectious and dramatic endeavours around Milwain’s potently jabbing beats. Leaving body and spirit bouncing, the track makes way for Clarity. It also has a less forceful attitude to its persuasion but a host of ear seizing and imagination sparking twists and turns within its slowly and increasingly anthemic arousing of sound and pleasure cored by a rhythmic spine and nagging riffery which worms into the psyche.
Every song makes an immediate impact but maybe none as striking as In Other Words. It opens on a seductive and slightly melancholic melody with an almost theatrical feel to it; the coaxing continuing to keep ears hooked as the song opens up with voice and additional vines of poetic melodies matched in imagination by the evocative lures of bass. As it builds up in intensity, emotion, and creative fire, there is a definite Muse like quality to the song but only enough to add colour to the band’s own sonic and inventive drama.
The following Tie Up The Sky uncages its enthralling and volatile tempest from the first breath, again rhythms a prowling network of enticement within the sonic and melodic theatre captivating ears and thoughts around Osman’s plaintive and dynamic croon. Circle Of Reason has the great knack of being aggressive, almost fearsome at times, and ridiculously infectious and vibrantly inviting; this compelling offering epitomising that potent quality in rousing style.
Completed by latest video single Colours, a track which climbs over the senses and into the passion with exotically hued grooves and a thick drama of sound and emotional suggestiveness, Faith Or Theory rumbles and blazes with heart bred fervour amidst an invasive quality. It feels like the Circle Of Reason sound has come of age yet something still says there is plenty more yet to come, which can only be very good for the UK rock scene.
Faith Or Theory is released 27th May via Freefall Records.
Pete RingMaster 09/05/2016
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