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Circle Takes The Square - Decompositions vol. 1
  • CTTS are a hardcore/rock band who put out one ridiculously good album in 2004 called As The Roots Undo before pretty much disappearing, and then reappeared in 2010/2011 with word of their second album maybe actually existing at some point. It was really exciting to look forward to it! That second album eventually came out as a download in December last year, and they’ve just put up a page selling physical copies and assorted tat. As it happens, it’s also a really good album.

    You can currently download the new one on a “pay what you want” deal via bandcamp:

    http://ctts.bandcamp.com/

    If you like, you can get a CD, record, CD+record or even a weird survival kit+CD+record bundle here (or indeed a copy of the first album on CD):

    http://circletakesthesquare.bigcartel.com/

    I said in the “best of 2012” thread that there is something about their music that conjures grey skies and ancient battlefields in my mind, and an awareness of people as being just another species scratching a living from the rocks. Not being one to read lyric sheets, I have been happily mishearing the first line of this new album as a howled instruction to fellow warriors: “reform the line!” - that’s not what he says at all, but the feeling is right (especially after an eight year absence, I suppose), because this music knows that for all we might allow ourselves to pretend otherwise, we exist in precarious balance with a surrounding nature that doesn’t care whether we live or die. And it’s not a horrific thing, or a depressed outlook on the world, it’s just the way it is: the world is big, we are very small, we live and struggle underneath clouds which gather and disperse (much like I wax lyrical about Mount Eerie for gently suggesting that the distinction between the natural world and the human world is a kind of curious fabrication, I think CTTS are onto the same ideas. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both bands choose to talk about this through the noise of cymbals and distorted guitars). But like I say, I don’t read lyric sheets so much of this sentiment is coming from my own enjoyment of the music. They might well be talking about completely different things to the things I imagine them to be talking about.

    Formally they repeat and expand upon themes as the album progresses - there are nine songs, but they all interweave with one another in places. Small melodies that slip past unnoticed reappear later on, that sort of thing. There is less of the chaotic thrashing than on their debut, and it doesn’t share that album’s clever opening-up from impenetrably dense structures at first into ever more expansive, heavier conclusions. There are more harmonies and layers of voices, more snatches of melody that stick around after the album’s finished. And then there’s a weird closing song that’s almost a Saddle Creek-style bittersweet acoustic ballad, broken up by sections of heavy chords.

    I wrote more than I meant to write, so I’ll leave it there for now. If you’re at all interested you should give their albums a couple of listens - they’re both really, really good.

  • This new album is really great. I don’t know what I have more to say than that, but I’ve been waiting a long time for this and it did not disappoint at all.

  • Jeb is right, guys!

  • I’m not sure who else here would really even be into this? Justin probably…

  • This band has never totally done it for me. The Pg 99 split is decent, and I think I gave the first record a couple of listens…maybe I’ll give it another go, it sounds like they’ve branched out and expanded their sound a bit.

  • jeb said: I’m not sure who else here would really even be into this? Justin probably…

    I just think everyone should be into it! Even on LPTJ the person who cared most about CTTS was Andrew, and he totally hated them for non-musical reasons (something to do with a dodgy deal or them not paying some people or something), so this was always a bit of a hail mary thread.

    I went wandering in the snow this morning with this in my headphones. It makes me want to pack a sleeping bag and a tent and just start walking off up to the hills and get lost in the woods for a night. I’ll probably save that plan until the snow has subsided though…