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Circuline reveal their second album's secret ingredients

Formed by members of a prog tribute act, New Yorkers Circuline are now a fully fledged band who are about to release their second album. Not even a line-up shake-up could halt their journey…

Musical advancement has always been one obvious motivator of progressive rock, and there’s almost an unspoken rule that if a band fails to develop, they’re likely to disenchant some listeners. Such upward momentum and ambition can have a heavy price though, and for Circuline, the divisions created during the writing sessions for their new album Counterpoint led to the departure of their founding guitarist Bill Shannon.

“We were in the studio writing and it just seemed to us that creatively we were moving in other directions,” recalls drummer Darin Brannon. “Billy is very heavily influenced in certain disciplines as far as the guitar is concerned. But Andy [Colyer, keyboard player/vocalist] and I really have a strong sense of where we want to go in terms of a musical direction. We want to keep our roots in the progressive rock genre, but we are also looking to maybe step outside into the general rock area as well. So a lot of the stuff we were working on with Bill was tending towards more heavily vocalised sections and I really don’t think that was something he wanted to do. So he stepped away, but we parted as friends.”

That decision to part gave the remaining members a sense of urgency to try to locate a replacement. With a performance at RoSfest booked for last May, and a desire to ensure they had two albums’ worth of material to perform, their initial attempts at recruitment proved somewhat futile. Indeed, after auditioning over 30 potential replacements, they were still no nearer to locating a guitarist they felt could enhance their music.

It was something that was clearly worrying Brannon and Colyer. Although they have their roots in the progressive rock tribute band Downing Grey, the thought of having to fill their set with cover versions – given they only had 45 minutes of original material for their allotted 90 minutes – was something they didn’t want to consider.

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