Album: Hollywood (2LP)
Label: Ektro Records
Release Date: January 24th2014
Hollywood by Circle was first released in 2008, and is now available on Ektro Records as 2 LPs. In case you don't know Circle: they are about the hardest working rock band in the world, released records at an unimaginable tempo (2 or 3 per year, typically - 30 studio albums, 15 live albums, and an additional double-digits of single, EP, and compilation appearances since forming in 1991).
Besides being incredibly productive, Circle are also extremely versatile. Every album is completely different. Hollywood turned out to be a poppy, uptempo album. Hollywood is a collaboration with Californian musician Bruce Druff, who played in a number US alt/punk bands. His work with Jester of Destiny charmed Jussi Lehtisalo, the bass player from Circle and musician in umpy other band, and this resulted in the collaboration between Bruce Druff and Circle.
In 2001, Jussi tracked down Duff via the miracle of the internet, and arranged to reissue of an album of Jester of Destiny on Ektro Records. Before long, Jussi introduced Duff to all things Circle and Pharaoh Overlord (a Circle offshoot that’s released another 15 or 20 albums). DVDs of files began to cross the continents and oceans, and by 2006, Duff had guested on a single and then Circle’s Earthworm EP. Both Circle and the Jesters are bands to whom genres and stylistic restrictions are considerations to be ignored. Not content to leave well-enough alone, Circle with Duff onboard carried on and, within two years, had completed Hollywood.
Circle never had their repetitions been divided into sections and then sung in English. The result was new for both participants, and as always there is some weird trippy stuff on the album. The icy repetition of “Spam Folder”, for example, was fleshed out lyrically by using the Burroughs’ cut-up technique on Duff’s email junk folder.
Musically, Hollywood brings us progressive rock, as we know it from Circle and their talent for imagination and creation, with mean straight-to-the-guts punk vocals. There is some americana influence on Hollywood as well, very noticeable on “Hard to Realize”. On “Earthworm”, there is a southern flavor and bayou influence.
Hollywood is an album of 73 minutes, and it does feel a bit long. I'm used to more long-spun weirdness from Circle instead of the poppy, direct approach that we hear on Hollywood. From the enormous catalog of Circle records, this is probably one that you shouldn't start with. It's nice to listen to for a while, but it's not up to the standards of most Circle releases.
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