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Circa: Circa

Circa is the prog-rock supergroup comprised of Billy Sherwood (vocals, bass), Alan White (drums), Tony Kaye (keyboards) and Jimmy Haun (guitar), the first three you'll no doubt recognize for their assocation with the legendary Yes. This is their debut CD, one that does have some similarities to Yes at times, but is at its core a solid modern day prog album. If you've listened to the releases that Sherwood has done with Chris Squire, as well as the albums that he recorded with Yes, then you have a good idea of what to expect here.

Opening song "Cut the Ties" is probably the most Yes-sounding piece on the CD, Haun's silky, Howe-ish lead guitar runs permeate this upbeat, symphonic rocker, Sherwood's muscular bass weaving around White's always dependable drum fills, while Kaye lays down plenty of synth and organ textures. "Don't Let Go" and "Together We Are" are more moody pop flavored numbers that tend to drag on a bit, the latter though has some emotional vocals from Sherwood and Haun's tasty guitar licks. The band lurches back to quirky prog on the almost danceable "Information Overload", a tune that could have almost come from Yes' 90125 or Big Generator, complete with big hooks, rock guitar, and spacey synths from Kaye. "Trust in Something" is sort of a 'by the numbers' soft rocker, featuring some cool pedal steel from Haun and lots of tones from Kaye, including some impressive organ colors. Sherwood layers plenty of vocals on "Keeper of the Flame", a symphonic piece that again recalls Yes, Haun adding in some real passionate lead work here as he flies all around the fretboard. More pop can be heard on "Life Going By", not a terrible number but perhaps the weakest cut here, and "Look Inside" struggles to rise above a generic pop song, but does have some impressive grooves from Sherwood's bass and tricky drum fills from White. Closing song "Brotherhood of Man" is a moody track with some lush instrumentation, highlighted by nimble bass lines from Sherwood and plenty of soaring Haun leads.

Though Circa is far from a classic, it's a solid offering from this new supergroup. Of the 5 tracks presented here, at least half are quite good, most of the rest decent. If you are in the mood for something new from some current & former members of Yes that doesn't actually stray too far from the Yes formula over the last decade or so, then this might find a welcome home in your music collection. I think the best if yet to come from this collective.

On a side note, it's worth mentioning that "Don't Let Go" and "Look Inside" were co-written by the band and Trevor Rabin. Though I was initially looking forward to these two pieces, in this writer's eyes, there are ultimately two of the weakest songs on the CD. Go figure.

Track Listing

  1. Cut the Ties
  2. Don't Let Go
  3. Together We Are
  4. Information Overload
  5. Trust in Something
  6. Keeper of the Flame
  7. Life Going By
  8. Look Inside
  9. Brotherhood of Man

Added: September 15th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Circa Website
Hits: 2248
Language: english

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