Music Reviews
Signal Morning

Circulatory System Signal Morning

(Cloud Recordings) Buy it from Insound Rating - 8/10

Things have been unusually active for the Elephant 6 Collective as of late. Last winter’s Holiday Surprise Tour garnered a lot of attention, especially with the unadvertised appearance of the elusive Mr. Mangum. Apparently the Olivia Tremor Control has been warming up with the hopes of a new album in the works. And now Circulatory System releases its second album eight years after their first. In that time the music business has collapsed in on itself, the indie music scene has morphed into something verging on popular and ubiquitous genre labels have been tossed around like confetti, but little has changed for Circulatory System. Signal Morning ignores the surrounding waters and resembles its self-titled predecessor in the best ways possible.

Still taking cues from early psych-poppers like The Electric Prunes, the band’s quirk factor is in full force. When asking, “Why not try breathing along with the universe,” Will Cullen Hart’s voice is a distant, boyish throwback to 60’s pop vocalists. In that respect it’s a thing of the past, but sonically Signal Morning is clearly an album of this millennium as seen on the deep bass grove that starts off Woodpecker Greeting Worker Ant. There’s plenty of chugging, fuzzed-out guitars, blips, whirls, and a host of unidentifiable sounds that bounce between channels. Occasionally, songs delightfully upbeat in nature rise from the haze to reveal a deep love for Beach Boys flavored pop. Overjoyed bustles with throbbing overdriven guitars and occasional stabs of strings. These gems are surrounded by exercises like the 23-second, News From the Heavenly Loom. Even in its brevity, the little acoustic strummer is intriguing before it unapologetically bullwhips into another crunchy psych-pop stomp, Round Again.

Hart and Co. must be given credit for advertising songs so appropriately. Tiny Concerts is a slow starter that grows with jagged jabs of brass. Blasting Through is spacey reverse-filled rock with continually changing textures. Particle Parades features orchestral instruments over a bed of brittle guitars. Electronic Diversion sounds like, well, like electronic diversion. Thankfully the songs all represent the aural embodiment of what their title describes, since no description can really fit them anyway. The titles are as natural as the songs themselves and even though Signal Morning was many years in the making it feels more spontaneous than labored over.

Psychedelic-noise affairs can easily grow grating, but with 17 songs spread over 45 minutes things don’t really have a chance to get bogged down in ethereal indulgence. As the pieces continue to invert themselves halfway through their running time, the album begins to resemble a child’s ambitious science experiment gone haywire. For this, Signal Morning shines.