Album Review: Circle of Soul, "Hand of Faith"

CIRCLE OF SOUL's debut opus Hand Of Faith is one of the best records I've had my grubby little paws on all year. This LA-based, interracial five-piece, with influences ranging from THE JACKSON FIVE through to LED ZEPPLELIN, ignore the conventional rock blueprint. What emerges from this musical melting pot is a pristine diamond of hard rock infused with a Motown feel, an energy that'll have your nerve ends bristling, and it fuckin' well grooves!

There's so much bubbling away here, I hardly know where to begin (try the opening track dick brain - Ed) Uh?... Oh yeah, right. War hits you with a dynamic power, whilst lyrically tackling tackling such thorny subjects as racism and sexism head on.

Ah yes, social problems viewed from street level. CIRCLE OF SOUL know a bit about that. Hard In The City is an angry, sharply observed piece, based on some of the band’s own personal experiences, although as a song it's a little laboured. Whilst Ghetto Grind has a bit of everything: raunched-up guitars, atmospheric backdrops, and a spot of street rapping that doesn't sound contrived or disrupts the fluidity of the song.

Social issues aside, other songs of note are Rusted Love, with its slinky, sexy rhythms, and the seductive, twisting melody of Shattered Faith.

The group's twin guitarists Joie Mastrokalos and Granville Cleveland also happen to share lead vocal duties. A fine job they do too, though one of them bears a slight vocal resemblance to FAITH NO MORE's Mike Patton. Additionally, their use of harmonies is subtle, ably abetted by percussionist Newt Cole.

CIRCLE OF SOUL are accessible without being mainstream. Only the fairly straight ballad, One Kiss is an exception to that rule.

Enough of this babbling! Quite simply this is vital, contemporary rock that will soon find the big stage it deserves. Buy and enjoy! Grade A

Mark Liddell
Riff Raff
August 1991
Share on Google Plus


Post a Comment