Southampton-based four-piece Circle of Reason are back with their new album Faith or Theory, the band’s first release since 2013’s These Hands and This Mind. In recent times it would appear that the alternative music scene in Southampton is having somewhat of a boom, bringing us artist such as Band of Skulls, Bury Tomorrow and (Drop This favourite!) Creeper. We’ve checked out this new release to see how Circle of Reason fit into this thriving south-coast scene.
One thing that’s clear right from the outset is that these boys have worked heavily on their musicianship. Mixing intricate guitars with pounding drums, which is then all held together by thundering bass lines. The opening two tracks ‘Never Enough’ and ‘Questions’ introduce us to Circle of Reason’s rather collective sound with a rearrange of genres clearly influencing them. If you listen hard enough you can find elements of metal and post-hardcore, but always with a hard rock feel, making it hard to put a label on exactly what this is- but that is never a bad thing.
Next track ‘My Emergency’ has a great sense of tension. Although it never really peaks, it steams along, always building up towards something bigger. We like the feel of this track, and it leads nicely into ‘Clarity’, a song that has so many layers to it it’d be one of those songs that you’d find something new every time you heard it.
We’re shown a lighter, more melodic side of this album with ‘In Other Words’, before being reintroduced to the dark side of proceedings with the beatdown-tastic ‘Tie Up the Sky’, which chugs along to the final track ‘Colours’, with a monster chorus and powerful vocals provided by front man Simon Osman.
Overall, Faith or Theory plays out without ever really changing gear, and its easy to find yourself getting a bit lost in this record. It’s a great advert for musicianship and meaningful song-writing, but may not always be as attention-grabbing as it could be.
Faith or Theory by CIRCLE OF REASON is out now via Freewall Records.