Reviewed by Martin I Smith
The debut album from Northampton singer/songwriter and ex-lead vocalist of Freeslave, 'Circles' is a record that passionately resists the temptation to remain in any comfortable ground forged through past musical ventures. Unlike the guitar-driven rock of Freeslave, the style of Haydon's solo debut is one composed of electronic pop melodies and ballads, and also ambient soundscapes, containing a couple entirely instrumental tracks ("Overture", "Opus"). Haydon's dry bluesy vocals find a suitable new home amongst moody synth lines, together producing a noticeably dark tone in many of the tracks. This distinct electronic, futuresque darkness forms an expressive voice that leads the more emotionally turbulent songs into brilliance, such as in the desperate and brilliant "Life's Great Test", which finds Haydon confessing with honesty, "precious love now forgotten, I'm failing life's great test." While the album is not afraid to explore moments of darkness, neither does it find the pitfall of nondescript gloom. Tracks such as "Here And Now" and "Let Me Out" provide a counter-balance of upbeat grooves that are as positively danceable as they are memorable. 'Circles' professes a courageous musical manifesto of ingenuity and God-centered honesty. Though as with any debut album, the artist's craft is yet to be perfected, the foundations established here are not only strong but also immensely enjoyable.
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