Thursday, January 23, 2014

Circuit Des Yeux - Overdue

Think Cat Power's Dear Sir mixed with Smog's Julius Ceasar againsts the chamber pop of Nico's Chelsea Girls.

This may be an overly pretentious way of explaining it, but it might be necessary, as Overdue has a much more boring explanation of its origins.

However it came to be, the resulting mood that was created with this album is one in which you can't begin to take your ears away from.

It's also way better than Dear Sir, or Julius Ceasar I suppose, but I've got too many memories invested in that record to throw it under the bus now.

Like Chan Marshall's Cat Power, the Circuit Des Yeux moniker is that of Haley Fohr, a young woman who came across an 8-track Otari reel-to-reel deck and rented out an apartment in Chicago's Little Village and set out to record this remarkable document.

Overdue is Fohr's 4th record under the Circuit Des Yeux name, and it immediate will send listeners scrambling for her other titles to see how this creative force navigated the waters to get to this point. Because "this point" is a menagerie of beautiful and occasionally terrifying moments, primarily built on acoustic arrangements and minimalist accompaniments.

What's offsetting is Fohr's pattern of supplementing her harrowing explorations with bent lane changes that would make Yoko smile. And when she isn't translating some looking glass nightmare, she's bellowing a majestic tale in overdramatic alto.

"My Name Is Rune," begins with haunting intent, until Fohr introduces a polite harmony to transform the track into a compelling dirge.

"Nova 88" is an amazing combination of Circuit Des Yeux's obvious influences, while doing nothing to prepare the listener for the damaged nightmare of "Acarina," Overdue's most stunning offering.

"I Am" completely destroys the mood of the rest of the album with its pointless abrasiveness. With its distorted vocals and harsh rhythms, it's a lazy addition to an album that finds its strength in the subtle corners highlighted in Overdue's remaining seven tracks.

Everything is forgiven by the time album closer "Lithonia" appears, a fully orchestrated chamber outing that evokes that old aforementioned Nico record. This, combined with the rest of the album's intent of providing listeners a full spectrum of Fohr's muse leave Overdue in a very unique light, one where there is a healthy respect for any artist who feels the need to channel their challenging art into an document that was carefully crafted.

Because Overdue would be a chore to absorb in a lo-fi setting, and Fohr's tactics of using her newly acquired Otari as a lifeline between her dark muse and us is part of what makes Circuit Des Yeux's latest exactly what its title suggests: long overdue.

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