CD Review: Circuline “Counterpoint”

The form of Rock and Roll called Progressive Rock (or Prog-rock for short) had its heyday back in the late 60s/early 70s. However, there have always been bands or solo artists out there that continue to create new Prog-rock. These bands draw influence from earlier bands like Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Gentle Giant, or even Peter Gabriel-era Genesis to create their own songs in order to keep the vision of the originators of the style alive. The newer songs being created are continuing to push the envelope of that style of Rock and Roll music in order to keep the music fresh. One such band around today that is doing their best to push the envelope of Rock and Roll by creating Progressive Rock is Circuline.

Circuline is a modern-day Prog-rock band that consist of two parts: Part one of the band consists of the musicians Andrew Colyer on keyboards and bass pedals, Darin Brannon on drums, Beledo on guitars and Paul Renieri on bass (although Renieri was just recently replaced for the band’s Sonic Voyage Fest tour by bassist/sound mixer Joel Simches).

While the band’s music is created by the aforementioned musicians, the songs of the band would not be complete without the second part of the group, the two vocalists who add their vocals to the band’s songs. The two people who are responsible for bringing the band’s lyrics to life are: theatrical vocalists Billy Spillane and Natalie Brown. Together, Spillane and Brown complete Circuline’s sound. There is one more piece to the puzzle that is Circuline. It is with the help of lyricist Randy McStine that the band’s songs become complete. Together, the musicians, vocalists and lyricist all combine their talents to create one entity that is Circuline.

Earlier in 2016, Circuline released their second album called Counterpoint. The album showcases the band’s Progressive Rock sound. Counterpoint from Circuline begins with the track “New Day”. Right from the start of the track, the listener gets a taste of the progressive sound of the band as the musicians create a very loose jam before they bring the track around to create a very orchestral instrumental track. The track feels very much like it could have been created for background music for a movie. The inclusion of soundbites from NASA adds a definite outer space flavor to the track. This adds to the “background music” feel to the track.

One of the showcase pieces for the band comes very early in the playing time for the Counterpoint release by Circuline. Throughout its five-minute playtime, the track of “Who I Am” changes musical directions, tempos and even intensity several times. The song begins with a passage that feels like a very strong overture for a rock opera before the band changes the feel of the song. The intense feel of the music at the beginning of the track is something that sounds like it could have been created by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The song later takes on a more theatrical style that will remind the listener of something from Broadway. The music of the track alternates between intense and theatrical throughout the length of the song.

For the song “Forbidden Planet,” Circuline brings the outer space feel of “New Days” back. In fact, when bringing the song “Who I Am” into the mix as well, the three tracks create a mini Rock Opera type of feel to the tracks. The three songs come together to seemingly tell the story of a person who feels very out of place, as if he does not belong, no matter where in the universe he is.

One particular track of the Counterpoint release from Circuline that sticks out is “Hollow”. The song seems to have been not-so-subtly influenced by events that have taken place within the political scene in America for the last year or so. The lyrics to “Hollow” seem to bring to mind the mass hysteria created by everything that had taken place over that year or so of time. In fact, the track’s lyrics of “I Don’t Want to Follow You, I Don’t Want Your Hollow View” seem to express what many of us were thinking as we watched the campaign drag on. The uneasy feel to the prog-rock music on the track even seems to reflect the anger felt during the campaign. While you can easily interpret the lyrics as an answer to what took place recently, truth be told, those lyrics could be used for any heated campaign at any point in history.

In much the same way that the song “Who I Am” gave the listener a chance to experience the talents of every member of Circuline, the song “Nautilus” also showcases each and every member of the band as well as the band as a whole. From one second to the next, the band creates a track that features many different musical directions. Whether it’s a melodic passage of Rock and Roll where the keyboard is featured, a more aggressive section that features the guitar, or a section that finds the band playing collectively while creating what can only be described as jazz, “Nautilus” is one track on Counterpoint from Circuline that truly makes use of every member’s various musical influences.

After a full nine tracks that draw from many different musical styles, Counterpoint from Circuline comes to a close with the song “Summit”. The track features a musical direction that seems to be equal parts Rock and Roll and jazz as the guitar on the track adds a Smooth Jazz effect to a rather strong and solid beat. The combination creates one of the more unusual tracks on the album.

Counterpoint from Circuline is a solid Progressive Rock release. Throughout the album, the band shows off its ability to create some of the most entertaining Prog-rock out there today. For fans of the style, this is a great album to add to your collection. And for those unfamiliar with the style, this is a great place to start.

To check out the music for Circuline, check out the video to their song “Who I Am”.

For more information, check out the band’s PR firm, Leighton Media.

To purchase a copy of Counterpoint from Circuline, click on the album cover below:
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