Circles Around the Sun :: S/T

Here’s one snuck out right as the quarantine confusion set in: the self-titled third lp from Circles Around the Sun. Recorded a week before the unexpected death of Neal Casal last year, don’t expect an elegiac set of sounds. Instead, Casal and crew (keyboardist Adam MacDougall, bassist Dan Horne, and drummer Mark Levy) fire it up, offering deep-fried boogies that suggest a Giorgio Moroder produced Shakedown Street. Exploring the middle ground between psych and disco, Circles Around the Sun III is all fat Moog basslines and slinky speedball guitars, with a fair amount of studious jazz fusion in the mix for good measure. Casal’s playing on the record is smokey and coiled, clearly indebted to Jerry Garcia but also Lowell George of Little Feat. While Casal has left behind a vast discography, having worked with everyone from the Chris Robinson Brotherhood to Beachwood Sparks to The Skiffle Players, but this is unlike anything he ever recorded—loose, fun, wild, and spontaneous sounding. Per Casal’s wishes, Circles will continue on in his absence. Circles Around the Sun indicates a group capable of much more than we’ve seen yet. words/j woodbury

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