May 7, 2014

Circle Takes the Square - Decompositions​: ​Volume Number One

Written by Natalie Zina Walschots. Originally published here by Exclaim.

Artwork by Drew Speziale

With Decompositions: Volume Number One, their sophomore release and first record since 2004, self-described apocalyptic punk rockers Circle Takes the Square achieve something that tastes like the burning circuit boards of cyberpunk, smells like a rain-drenched, ruined city and bleeds like heavy metal. The record is defined by a pervasive, oppressive atmosphere of gloom shot through by the manic, frenzied lightning of Andrew Speziale and Kathleen Stubelek's duelling vocals. The instrumentation is a strange and varied landscape, featuring grim passages of blasted concrete that ache of exposed rebar punctuated by brutal landslides where tempos and time signatures collapse upon each other.

Photos by Robby Schulze.

For all the technique and experimentation, however, the greatest strength of Decompositions is that it's never content to be merely clever, but also strives for emotional authenticity. It cuts to the quick, going for the dripping green vitality at the centre of a slumbering branch. As absorbing as it is challenging (especially the monstrous "Singing Vengeance Into Being"), Decompositions is an easy record to become obsessed with.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

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