Circlesquare’s sublime, drowsy songs march languidly out of your speakers like disaffected schoolchildren, and you can feel them pulling your body downward like some sort of rhythmic gravity. Elements of psychedelic rock, ambient, trance, and downtempo can all be discovered among creator Jeremy Shaw’s melodically sparse, densely packed aural creations, and there’s a bizarrely pleasing beat to each one. The song construction is all over the map, employing everything from handclaps and finger snaps to robust thuds of bass, dissonant electronic squawks, acoustic guitars, unearthly synthesized pieces and what may or may not be the sound of shuffling feet.
At its most upbeat, as on “Ten to One” and the pulsating “All Live But the Ending,” Songs About Dancing And Drugs (CD – MP3) threatens energy, but the prevailing mood is definitely one of languid experimentation. Shaw lets the sonic chips fall where they may on tracks like “Dancers,” which holds its title aloft with poles made of irony – you could conceivably dance to it, but that would require a unique talent all its own.
The imagined protagonists of songs like “Timely” and “Music For Satellites” are undoubtedly standing still among tall buildings or sitting at a bus stop, reclining on the roof of a suburban house or in the middle of a darkened football field, or maybe stopped on the side of a lonely road just sitting in the car with a city’s light flickering in the rearview mirror, consciously zoning out while the world moves around them with pointless zeal. Open your mind to hypnotic creations like “Bombs Away, Away” or “Stop Taking (So Many)” and trust me, you’re not going anywhere either. Songs about Dancing and Drugs is the most strangely satisfying, mentally enchanting release I have heard this year.