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Circa “Valley of The Windmill” Album Review

Genre: Melodic Rock/Rock
Released by: Frontiers Music s.r.l
Release date: July 8 2016

Tracklist:
1. Silent Resolve (14:41)
2. Empire Over (9:24)
3. Valley Of The Windmill (7:32)
4. Our Place Under The Sun (18:43)

The Band:
Billy Sherwood / vocals and guitars
Tony Kaye / keyboards and hammond organ
Scott Connor / drums and percussion
Rick Tierney / bass

If you haven’t been following the life of the band Circa, other than the fact that prog rock isn’t your thing, then you need to rectify that. Original Yes keyboard player Tony Kaye joined forces with current Yes bassist Billy Sherwood who had worked with the band from 1997-2000 and later replaced Chris Squire prior to his untimely passing in 2015. Circa has been around since around 2007 when the two musicians joined forces to create a prog rock band that has moments of Yes style sound, but genuinely eked out a sound all their own. At it’s beginning it had current and former members of the band Yes, but now is just Kaye and Sherwood, along with YOSO drummer Scott Connor and bassist Ricky Tierney with Sherwood supplying guitar, bass and vocals and Kaye providing the keyboards.

Circa Article Framed

Their upcoming album Valley of The Windmill delves deeper into the prog element offering four tracks clocking in at around 45 minutes. The Yes influence is certainly quite clear, however the sound heads more towards a Gentle Giant meets Marillion with only hints at the Yes roots. The album opens with “Silent Resolve” with very soulful organ passages, quirky guitar pieces, and a sometimes Beach Boys meets prog feel to it. “Empire Over” is a bouncing, poppy prog offering that is very catchy adding a different layer to the album. Next is the title track which is a very laid back acoustic ethereal piece that puts me in mind of early Genesis without being too out there. Closing out the album is the longest track on the album “Our Place Under the Sun” which is the most up-tempo song on the album building on the Yes influence but adding a more modern spin on prog with bits of Bigelf and Porcupine Tree.

Circa Cover Framed

This may be the most prog album in their catalog, but for me it was the easiest accessible too. There were so many bits and pieces throughout the album that alluded to a firm chemistry between the members, and a better focus of what music they want to be recording. Prog nerds and old school Yes fans will love this album, because Valley of the Windmill pushes the band to limits they hadn’t shown yet on their previous releases.

Reviewer: Chris Martin

Rating: 9/10

 

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