Not many people probably know where Red Hook, NY is located but I’ve driven through that town many times on my way to and from my home in the Capital District region of Upstate NY. The interesting thing about Circuline, who hail from Red Hook, is that they play a brand of prog that makes them sound quite British.
Their debut album “Return” feels like a lost album from the neo-prog glory days of the 1980s. They are a band who would have fit comfortably with Pallas, Galahad, IQ and Twelfth Night. For all the technical and melodicism that Circuline possess, they don’t quite hit the nail on the head when it comes to the almighty “hook.” Make no mistake, “Return” will certainly appeal to fans who pine for the pleasant side of neo-prog. I prefer some fireworks and most of all some tension. Prog needs to challenge me or I lose interest.
The flow of “Return” is a bit strange with every other track being an instrumental. While that is great from a musician’s stand point, the band has not one but TWO singers. It seems odd to me that they have to take a break so often on the album. The other thing I found hard to believe was that there are two singers because I couldn’t really distinguish between the two voices. This is strange because they aren’t even the same gender! Both are quite capable singers, so why does a band need two that sound so similar?
On the plus side, the track “Stereotypes” does rock a bit which is quite welcome. It shows the band can play quite a bit and overall is the highlight for me on “Return.” The closing track “Silence Revealed” is another good track if someone slowed by an intro that, for me, goes on a little too long.
My neighbors to the South are a talented bunch and for a debut album, “Return” is a very polished, professional sounding album that they should rightfully be proud of. My own personal taste prevents me from enjoying it as I think many people will and have. Here’s hoping for stronger hooks from Red Hook!