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The Greek Theatre: Broken Circle

Making a hazy psychedelic splash with their Lost Out At Sea debut, The Greek Theatre hark back to a time when the power was flower and the hippy hippy shake was something that happened during a drugs bust. If anything, album number two, Broken Circle, is even more heady. As with all the best retro releases – no matter what era they hope to portray – the key to its success is that this is no reimagining of the past, no updated pastiche. Instead, you could happily believe this lot once rubbed shoulders with Jefferson Airplane, Buffalo Springfield or Quicksilver Messenger Service, the relaxed vibe extolled by this Swedish duo being so authentic. The sound is crisp and clear without veering into the clinical compressed sheen so often favoured these days. Possibly something best explained by The Greek Theatre's penchant for releasing their albums on vinyl (although it is the CD version I've heard), their backward glancing/forward thinking outlook followed through in full; a factor also explaining why the sounds across Broken Circle vary so convincingly, an aspect they put down to there being more than one songwriting voice in the band.

And voices there are too, The Greek Theatre not an instrumentally obsessed outfit where vocals play second fiddle, excellent lead and layers of back-up singing allowed to become the main focus on the floating meander of "Still Lost Out At Sea", where the sumptuous guest clarinet work from Andreas Ralsgård adds to the relaxing melodies quite superbly. With the vocals of Me And My Kite duo Lisa Isaksson and David Svedmyr combining beautifully on "Fat Apple (At About Noon)" and Lisa herself layering her rich but fragile tones over the shimmer of "Stray Dog Blues", the highlights regularly wander lazily but purposefully into view. The sharp guitar work and intricate percussion of "1920" is a delight that almost becomes a Spaghetti Western lament, before the tumble-strut of the album's title track rises boldly, the most overtly muscular offering a clever change of pace. This conjoined duo of songs ably demonstrating the varied but cohesive insistence the pairing of Sven Fröberg and Fredrik Persson can create as The Greek Theatre.

It's no great surprise that the limited vinyl run of Broken Circle has already sold out, however with the authentic and deeply cared for tones this album emits, it's easy to imagine the gentle crack, pop and hiss as the needle does its work deep in the groove. Although it's the irresistible but gentle grooves the album itself reveals, that always prove the most blissful of joys.

Track Listing
1. fat apple (at about noon)
2. paper moon
3. broken circle
4. stray dog blues
5. 1920
6. broken circle
7. ruby-khon
8. kings of old
9. now is the time

Added: June 24th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Greek Theatre on bandcamp
Hits: 1961
Language: english

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