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. This album isn’t an easy one to approach since it combines 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.
The tracklist shows many unexpected moments. They include the grand-flute-infused Irish choir opening of Miri It Is, with a keyboard solo to add some electronic taste to the experience. Also, the folk suite of My Body Is Made of Sunlight and the nostalgic moments of We are Long Lost. This song sounds like a rip-off of Nick Cave of the first era but less violent and soaked in a prog vest.
It seems that the main goal of the work is one of pure musical experimentation or 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 to the Velvet Underground, especially concerning the use of tribal drums in the rhythm section.
In The Lick On The Tip Of An Envelope, Circulus tries to recover the ’60s and ’70s bands like Hawkwind and Fairport Convention. Meanwhile, they show deep interest in the kind of experimentation that electronic music brought to the music 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 its strong attitude towards songwriting more than compensates it. To sum up, the work remains unique in its structure and shows that bringing together genres of different times can be an intriguing way for a band to find new sounds and ideas.
You can stream the album on Spotify.