Decompositions: Volume Number One review by Circle Takes the Square

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  • Released: Dec 21, 2012
  • Sound: 5
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.3 Neat
  • Users' score: 7.9 (21 votes)
Circle Takes the Square: Decompositions: Volume Number One

Sound — 5
"Decompositions: Volume Number One" is a very dense record. It is a super cathartic release, and not really a record you put on just for fun. It is a record that one has to actively listen to in order to fully appreciate. As they are wont to do, Circle Takes The Square are all over the map with influences. There is metal, screamo, powerviolence, and even a little indie folk influences throughout. This much going on at once would be f--king disastrous in the hands of a lesser band. People generally use the term "atmospheric" to describe mellow, ambient things. This is an atmospheric record, but that atmosphere is more apocalyptic than calming.

Lyrics — 7
Nine songs blast through in about 56 minutes. There are some sparse moments. Album opener, "Enter By The Narrow Gates", starts with about a minute of chanting. The remainder of it's almost seven minute run time is spent building to the release that is the second cut, "Spirit Narrative". And, when it explodes, it f--king makes it count. It is a slow burn, but it keeps your attention. Once your work yourself into the record, it is business as usual. Business as usual for this band is not such a simple business. The thing that sold me on Circle Takes The Square was the chaotic nature of their records. It would go from calm to full on chaos multiple times within a song. It can make things a little disjointed at time, but it keeps you involved. That is the only problem I have with this record. Everything seems more calculated. Nothing on this record feels very spontaneous. All the slow parts are where you expect them to be. It ebbs and flows in a way that would be comfortable in any other record, but seems out of place on a full length from this band. This isn't a knock on the band, as this record is still amazingly engrossing. The problem is that they are so honed and aware of what they are doing that nothing stands out above all else. The record starts really strong. With the exception of album closer, "North Star, Inverted", the bottom half of the record is a little less strong. However, that f--king closer is one of the best things this band has done. Pushing 11 minutes, "North Star, Inverted" is beautiful. It's probably the one song off of this album that I memorized the lyrics to. It starts with a building drum, into a post-hardcore guitar part. Everything is generally what you expect, and then it throws a curve ball. Two minute and 15 seconds in, you get a very calm acoustic guitar lead. It is basically a perfect song, and I have to say that the lines: "The future can't sleep, It doesn't need to, It dreams standing up like the statues In the gardens we'll pass through- Past the guardians at the gatepost, The Light: how it gives and it takes." They are just beautiful in every single way. I didn't take the time to go through each lyric from each song with you because your overall impression of the songs will obviously be different from mine - but to me, all of their lyrics on this album are perfect.

Overall Impression — 7
To wrap this overly long review up, this record is great. I can see why it took them 8 years to come out with a new album. They simply waited for the right ideas to come along and all blend smoothly together. While it is lacking some of the exuberance of "As The Roots Undo", it still f--king kills it. I didn't even need to write this review, as anyone who is a believer in this band has already checked it out anyway. If you haven't heard of this band or album before, I recommend taking a listen to "North Star, Inverted". You won't be disappointed.

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31 comments sorted by best / new / date

    What the **** is emo/powerviolence?
    "Emo" and "powerviolence" are music genres. But there's no pure emo or powerviolence on this album - actually "emoviolence" is more suitable genre.
    "This record is great" >Gives album a 6.5ish/10
    Just because a record sounds great doesn't mean it's going to get an 8 or a 10. Every record has its flaws, just like this one. That's why I gave it a 6. It is lacking some of the exuberance of "As The Roots Undo", hence why I didn't rate it as high. It's a great sounding album, but its not close to perfect.
    What's wrong with "hardcore/folk-pop"?
    How about the fact that there isn't much pop or folk to them? Just because they have a folk influence here and there in a song or because they play the acoustic guitar for an interlude doesn't make them folk.
    Nor do they have much Screamo influence. If anything, they're a progressive form of Sludge and Metalcore (real Metalcore, as in "Metallic Hardcore").
    they have mostly srceamo influence. have you heard "as the roots undo"? one could call them progressive hardcore, but they really have no sludge (too fast/changing) and no metalcore (not pop song structures/not melodic riffage based songs)
    Congratulations, i've seen CTTS called many things, but sludge and metallic hardcore was not among them. No screamo influence? Ahahahahahaha.
    I sort of expected something crappy from the review but after listening I have to say it's not that bad. I agree with the labels 'Screamo' and 'Sludge' and maybe 'Post-hardcore'. That's all I'd need to know to get their sound. But I guess 'progressive' and 'experimental' is the new hip now... Because it's so deep you can't even start to comprehend...
    "So what does your band play?" "Well, you know, we're just a Screamo, Post-Hardcore, Experimental Rock, Progressive Metal, Indie Folk, Hardcore Punk, Sludge Metal, Emoviolence, Post-Rock-band". For ****s sake people. use legitimate genres and stop coming up with fake ones. Emoviolence is not a genre. I refuse to recognize it as a real genre. And enough with the "post" nonsense.
    Well, post metal and post rock are legit genres that have their own unique characteristics. That's just how they sound. It's not that someone just came up with the terms because he was bored, they are called post genres because they are post genres.
    anvil is god
    All of those are legitimate genres. Lrn 2 genre nazi
    anvil is god
    Also, post rock shares nearly no similarities with rock. It is most definitely a separate genre.
    No, "post" simply means "after". In theory every band in the world plays post-emocore as it's already been invented. What the word has COME to mean is this (see below), and I'm using post- black metal as an example. Post black metal simply means "if you listen to our music you realize that it's written in a time when black metal has been invented. It's there somewhere, but it's not a dominant feature of our sound". Whereas my reply is that just because you borrow some minor influence from a genre doesn't mean you get to wear the name of that genre in any form. This is still hardcore/folkpop and as all bands have minor influences of other forms of music we should just stop using "post" all together.
    You go to all this trouble to "disprove" genres and then you refer to this as folkpop? Another blended genre descriptor? And this most definitely is not hardcore by definition.
    I didn't say all blended genre descriptors are wrong. I said that I don't think post-genres are legitimate. Folkpop is a fusion between folkmusic and pop. Post rock is a fusion and rock? See my point? If your band draws influences of 10 different styles of music it is much less pretentious to simply say "we play experimental rock" or "we play progressive metal". If you want to go even further you can even call yourself avant-garde, but you'd better live up to it. Posting seven genre-descriptors doesn't really make anyone understand what the music sounds like, which is what genres are originally for if anything.
    posting seven genre descriptors will really make someone understand what the music sounds like, so long as they have the know-how of what the genres you mentioned are, and the attention span to put it all together. I havent heard this album though, I have the EP Decompositions chapter 1 and I really enjoyed it. harsh review on the sound, but I'll have to hear it first to be the judge i suppose. great review
    So are you saying post punk isn't a legitimate genre, because post "just means after" ? Confirmed for knowing jack shit about music genres.
    This was a pretty boss album. They really upped on the production quality. As for genres, they all seem pretty accurate to their sound. Multiple genres is a good thing people.
    This album rules. The review is very misleading. Definitely check this cd out.