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Circlesquare Pre-Earthquake Anthem

Vancouver's March 21 (Jeremy Shaw) ought to call himself Methodical Man. His debut album is as stark as North Dakota's plains and as coldly calculated as Alfred Hitchcock. Circlesquare liberally uses slide-guitar sighs; typically these evoke vast, open spaces, but on Pre-Earthquake Anthem they cannot dissipate the tracks' claustrophobic creepiness. He unspools hypnotic, repetitive grooves featuring near-catatonic vocals, distorted bass oscillations and rimshots that tick like time bombs. Homages/allusions to David Essex, Ry Cooder, Fripp/Eno and Faust sweeten Circlesquare's musical molasses. If you dig the more static excursions by Tricky or Labradford, you'll enjoy Circlesquare's anomic, minimalist mantras.

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