CIRCA – And So On (2011)
For those unaware, CIRCA: is a neo melodic prog super-group founded by four musicians associated with Yes: drummer Alan White, Tony Kaye (keyboards), Billy Sherwood (bass, vocals), and guitarist Jimmy Haun, who played on the Yes album ‘Union’.
Billy Sherwood continued an on/off association with Yes over the years, joining the live line-up for the Talk tour in 1994, with Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Chris Squire, Alan White, and Tony Kaye.
After this, in 1995, Sherwood and Rabin did some writing together, and two tracks on the Circa self-titled debut album (2007) are based on this material.
In July 2008, monster drummer Jay Schellen permanently replaced Alan White, who returned to Yes. The new line-up released ‘Circa HQ’, in 2009.
An Italian tour with former Toto singer, Bobby Kimball, was announced for February 2009, playing a set consisting of music by Circa, Yes, and Toto.
Kimball and Circa then joined to create a new band; YOSO (already presented here at 0dayrock).
In early 2011, Circa lost two members; guitarist Jimmy Haun had withdrawn to concentrate on his work providing music for commercials, and Jay Schellen, who wanted to focus on work with Asia and Marcie Free’s Unruly Child.
Both were replaced by Yoso’s guitar man Johnny Bruhns and drummer Scott Connor, and with this line-up Circa recorded their brand new album “And So On”.
So, Circa now basically is Yoso with Billy Sherwood’s vocals.
“And So On” is a neo melodic prog commercial disc with many modern YES elements, that said; their classic ’80s sound with Rock&pop twists.
You’ll hear here songs in the vein of YES ‘90125’ and ‘Big Generator’ eras, as the haunting “Til We Get There”, the easy listening and melodic “Notorious” (great guitar work), or the title track.
The midtempo “Cast Away” is in the style of Billy Sherwood’s solo albums, “Half Way Home” has an articulated structure like Yes 90’s works, while “In My Sky” is an intimate acoustically based mellow tune.
On “Life’s Offering” is where the band displays all their individual technical skills, with dynamic instrumental passages, all melodic and entertaining.
“Although the album was not written as a concept record, the songs are somehow tied together and are all symbiotic,” Billy Sherwood explains, “it’s really just an evolution of Circa: music.”
I really like Circa’s previous albums, and enjoyed “And So On” as well.
These veterans know how to write good material in this genre, maintaining their prog roots but making their music accessible and melodic to wider audiences.
Good melodies abound, harmony and perfectly pitched vocals and obviously, great musicianship. Maybe the production is a bit more ‘ascetic’ than their previous works, but it is crystal clear and the album is consummately well mixed.
“And So On” is expected to be released through an european record label to be announced, meanwhile it’s only available via the band’s website.
1. And So On (9:07)
2. Cast Away (4:48)
3. ‘Til We Get There (6:35)
4. Notorious (5:36)
5. Half Way Home (4:56)
6. In My Sky (3:30)
7. True Progress (7:42)
8. Each To His Own (4:40)
9. Life’s Offering (10:07)
Billy Sherwood – Vocals, Bass
Tony Kaye – Keyboards
Johnny Bruhns – Guitars
Scott Connor – Drums
Ronnie Ciago – Drums
BUY IT !