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Bicircular

Black Celebration

Review by Gary Hill

This new disc is a tribute to the Depeche Mode album of the same title. Don't expect a carbon copy of the original, though. I've always said that unless you are a full tribute act, if you are going to cover someone else's material, you should make it your own. Clearly this project follows that mantra - and to good effect. This is an intriguing set. The vocals are all female and work quite well. There is a good range of sounds built into the music. I suppose Depeche Mode fans are the most obvious audience, but really anyone who likes good electronic music should find this interesting.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Black Celebration feat. Breana Marin
While the keyboard textures on this cut are in keeping with the original material, the vocals bring a bit of soulful passion. Other instrumental elements provide more pure rock sound.
Fly on the Windscreen feat. Aly Frank
This still has some of the classic DM sound, but it's much more of a straight-ahead rocker overall. I love the vocal performance on this one. It really adds so much. That said, the guitar sounds are vital, too.
A Question of Lust feat. Mickey Shiloh

I love the melodies on this. The vocal arrangement is another of the best here. This lands somewhere between mainstream pop rock and modern prog. It's another classy tune.

Sometimes feat. Leanne Kelly

There is a dreamy, trippy kind of vibe to this. The vocals are wispy and angelic. This is so cool.

It Doesn’t Matter Two feat. Cecilie Krag

Intricate keyboard textures make up the backdrop for this cut. It's another that has some definite modern prog tendencies. The vocals have a sort of cold reserve to them that works very well.

A Question of Time feat. Rachel Gavaletz

Much more of an EDM based sound is the concept here. Personally, I don't think one works as well as some of the rest. It's just a bit too predictable and generic.

Stripped feat. Breana Marin

This is much more of a mainstream rocker. It's a classy cut that is effective. While it's not my favorite thing, the multiple layers that come across the arrangement really add a lot to it.

Here Is the House feat. Katie McGhie and Leanne Kelly
More EDM styled, I like this cut a lot. It's nothing Earth-shattering. It's just quite effective.
World Full of Nothing feat. Mickey Shiloh
This is dark and trippy in a lot of ways. It's another of the highlights here. It is perhaps a bit sparse in terms of the arrangement, but that really works. The vocals really manage to shine.
Shake the Disease feat. Aly Frank
Piano and violin are big parts of this arrangement. This is a cool cut. In fact, it might be my favorite here. The vocal performance is arguably the best of the set. The whole piece just works really well.
Christmas Island
Gothic music, EDM and proggy sounds all merge on this instrumental. It feels a lot like something Nox Arcana might do. It's a cool way to end the disc.
 
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