red lights


Airy, ambient pop goes
round in circles


Calliope - Sounds Like Circles Feel
(Thick Records)
2 1/2 (out of 5 stars)

Reviewed: Jan. 26, 2004

Review by Tony Bonyata

In many ways -with rotating rhythms, spacey orbs of synthesizers, loopy guitars and light airy vocals - Calliope's latest album Sounds Like Circles Feel does just that.
On the East Lansing, Michigan-based quartet's fifth full length release singer Andy Dryer, guitarist Jason Lantrip, bassist Carmen Paradise and drummer Matt Ellison have created an effort that's heavy on atmosphere but, unfortunately, is ultimately light on actual songs.
On numbers such as the opening track "What I Think You Mean," with its skittish beat, matter-of-fact vocal delivery and Latin-spiced jazz trumpet peppered in, and "Beautiful" a lilting song built atop otherworldly ambient soundscapes, along with the simplistic beauty of the closing instrumental "It's Later Than I Thought," the band shows a knack for turning in a pretty sound. But with a handful of songs that are also filled with sleepy, soulless vocals, unripened melodies and laid-back, laissez faire arrangements, the overall effect is like a balloon that's slowly lost it's helium days after the circus has packed up its tent and moved on to the next town.
Calliope's sonic vision may be more about mood and feeling, but with an album that's a bit too weighty in mood and a bit too breezy in feeling, maybe they should incorporate a little more inner passion and a little less indie fashion into their next effort.

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