The debut album from psyched-out folk ensemble Circulus, The Lick on The Tip Of An Envelope Yet To Be Sent sounds as radically disorienting and unpredictable as the title suggests. Combining sincere Irish folk, ‘70s prog arrangements a-là King Crimson, the folk vibe of Led Zeppelin after their second record and the colorful bliss of most neo-psychedelic outfits out there, this album isn’t an easy one to approach.
From the grand-flute infused Irish choir opening of “Miri It Is” (with a keyboard solo to add some electronic taste to the experience), to the folk suite of “My Body Is Made of Sunlight”, to the nostalgic moment brought by “We are Long Lost”, a song that sounds like a rip-off of Nick Cave of the first era but less violent and soaked in a prog vest, the tracklist shows many unexpected moments. It seems that the main goal of the work is one of pure musical experimentation, the thrill of breaking down musical barriers between genres and moods; still, the record feels to the ears like a coherent being, a mosaic of different styles of playing, executions and musical traditions that collapse together in a Babel of sounds, as we can precisely hear in the acid-rock guilloché of “The Aphid”. One of the stronger tracks, “Orpheus”, takes the listener on a journey through over 3 minutes of space-rock riffs and tropes, simultaneously showing a debt owed to a Velvet Underground style of production, especially concerning the use of tribal drums in the rhythm section.
Circulus in this opus tries to recover the legacy of 60’s and 70’s bands like Hawkwind and Fairport Convention, while concurrently showing a deep interest for the kind of experimentation that electronic music brought to the musical scene in the decades that followed. The record’s greatest flaw remains the weakness of production choices in certain tracks, which sound flat and muddy, but it’s more than made up for by its strong attitude towards songwriting. The work remains unique in its structure and shows that bringing together genres of different times can be an interesting way for a band to find new sounds and ideas.
You can stream the album on Spotify.
Below, the official video for “My Body is Made of Sunlight”.