For a decade, Circulus’ Michael Tyack has ploughed a lonely furrow. Comprised entirely of people who look like IT consultants posing for a portrait, his band’s blend of folk, prog and medieval music has proved anathema to record companies. Stories of ’shroom consumption, breakdowns and members being fired for not believing in fairies may also explain why ‘The Lick On The Tip…’ is Circulus’ debut LP despite forming in 1995.
In reality, it’s a record that’s been 500 years in the making: as a band more inspired by ‘Greensleeves’ than Gang Of Four, Circulus are out of step with any music made since the war of the Roses. They replace skinny ties and crack with doublet, hose and songs called ‘Power To The Pixies!’ But the deft way that they weave together sea shanties and flutes with synths pushes ‘The Lick…’ from the realm of the daft into oddly affecting.
They’re best when they do straightforward folk rock: cover version ‘Swallow’ is gorgeous. But it seems churlish to quibble: Circulus’ dedication to continuing through ten years of – at best – mild ridicule can only be saluted. Power to the pixies!