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Prog Rock… those two words tend to have a certain effect on people. Either your face will take on a look of complete adoration and love or it will contort into a hideous and twisted mass of fear and loathing! Because I listen to such a huge variety of metal and rock I am actually somewhere in the middle. I have a lot of Yes, Genesis, ELP etc in my collection, and they have written some fantastic stuff over the years; however; they also manage to sometimes send me to sleep with some truly mind numbing self indulgence. I was too young to actually appreciate first hand a lot of prog during the 70s and so my first taste of it was when I started getting into the ‘second wave’ of prog in the 80s with bands such as Marillion, IQ, Pendragon and also the Trevor Rabin Yes era, which I loved. Of course, a version of Yes is still going and thanks to the huge number of ex-members, there have been plenty of collaborations, side projects, solo albums and alternative bands that have sprung up over the years. Many of those keep the spirit of classic prog but take out all of the overblown twaddle. 2012’s Squackett album, ‘A Life Within A Day’, is a perfect example, being one of my favourite albums of last year in any genre. I have now been introduced to Circa, courtesy of their new album ‘Live From Here There & Everywhere’ and they can most definitely be added to my list of great prog bands.

Circa, if you don’t know (and I hadn’t heard of them before either), were formed in 2007 and have within their ranks two ex-Yes members: Billy Sherwood on vocals and guitar and Tony Kaye on keyboards. They are joined by bass player Rick Tierney (Sherwood’s solo band and ex-Alice Cooper) and drummer Scott Connor (ex-YOSO and Yes tribute band Squonk). This live album contains material from Circa’s three studio albums to date (which I will quickly be buying) and is a quite beautiful seventy minutes of ‘real’ songs with huge melodies, all played in the style of classic Yes but without all the extra rolls of fat. Imagine a hybrid of early Yes and the Rabin era and that’s Circa. Sherwood is hugely talented, and much underrated in my opinion. Both his voice and guitar playing on this are almost faultless and together with the magnificent keyboard skills of Kaye they make a fabulous team. Add a terrific, and actually fairly rocky, rhythm section to the mix and I’ve found a prog band that could well be playing on my stereo quite a bit in the future. Tracks such as ‘True Progress’, ‘Half Way Home’ and the little bit Rush flavoured (thanks to the bass) ‘Remember Along The Way’ are all great, but they’ve not been singled out. Every track on here makes me feel good and not once have I put this CD on and wanted to skip anything. Do I have any niggles? Well there is one pretty small one. This album has been put together from various live performances and is only a selection of the songs that were actually played. That’s fine, but I do not like fade outs and gaps in between songs on live albums. It somehow loses some of its impetus. Other than that, though, this is a cracking sounding album, played by four very talented people and if you have a love, or even just a passing interest in prog, then Circa are a must listen.
Glassville Records
Review by Rick Tilley
10th June 2013
1) And So On
2) Ever Changing World
3) True Progress
4) Cast Away
5) Remember Along the Way
6) Half Way Home
7) Together We Are
8) If It's Not Too Late
"...a quite beautiful seventy minutes of ‘real’ songs with huge melodies, all played in the style of classic Yes but without all the extra rolls of fat."