Circle – Vaudeville


Vaudeville begins with “Razorblades,” a track that leaves me quite confused about what type of music the Belgian band Circle creates. This short song starts of sounding like straight-up rock with hints of punk influences, but as the vocals enter, the focus moves more toward hardcore. Then there’s the honky-tonk style piano thrown in the mix and the rolling metal style guitar work to consider. I’m left with a sheer melting pot of styles to consider, and I have no names for this – it’s just rock n’ roll albeit liberally infused with a lot of different styles.
Many albums that leave you wondering how to classify them also share a lack of cohesiveness that results in a collection of songs that are hard to listen to as a group. Such inconsistencies often make me think it wasn’t an intentional genre blurring on the band’s part but rather a simple lack of focus. Circle doesn’t suffer from this, and the group isn’t short on attention to details on any song here. While a few of the tracks stray a bit in somewhat puzzling directions, it isn’t anything that can’t be understood with a few extra listens.
One of the major highlights of Vaudeville is vocalist Dries Olemans’ range. He has the hardcore scream down pat, but it’s his singing voice that truly grabs my attention. It’s in these in-between moments that you catch a glimpse at just how expressive his voice is as it moves from monotone, quasi spoken word on “Dance to Forget…” to a swagger straight out of the 70s for other tracks like “Con Art.” Olemans seems equally comfortable in all of these territories, and I think this is one of the key elements that keep Vaudeville from coming across as scattered.
While Circle hasn’t absolutely floored me with this release, the band has definitely intrigued me enough to keep an eye on in the future. The band is undoubtedly pursuing some interesting directions that I look forward to revisiting from time to time. Those looking for hardcore and punk bands taking music above and beyond those traditional labels needn’t look much further than this.