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coverpic flag Australia - Full Moon 89 - 01/07/04

GB3
Circlework
Rubber Records

Another glittering chapter in the story of Melbourne's undergroundLOVERS, "GB" being UL guitarist Glenn Bennie. Initially tagged with the dreaded "Madchester" label in the nineties, close listens proved UL were never part of that poncy "dance like Frank Spencer with a bowl cut" scene at all. Their brilliant albums during this time, particularly Leaves Me Blind and Dream It Down displayed their strength in 'soundscapes' or aural themes. True believers in the album format, they effortlessly constructed moods over the entirety of an album, painting sublime pictures on large palettes.

That's the background - what about Circlework? Beautifully hypnotic - a great balance of swirling electronica seamlessly matched to the distinctive strum of Bennie's guitar. Second track "Dreaming Names" is all gorgeous insistent yearning and "Wake Up" possesses that sense of motion UL always captured so well, while "Lights Turn Green" cleverly employs Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy" in powering the driving doof!

A feature of Circlework is the floating keyboards and burning drone of guitars depth charging in the background. Like an old friend returned to town, it's also comforting to hear UL vocalist Philippa Nihill in her glory, especially on the gentle pulse and throb of "Gently Hovering". Those unlucky souls not to have witnessed Philippa should get to thinking of the narcotic dreamy brilliance of My Bloody Valentine and The Cocteau Twins.

Glenn Bennie continues to prove his worth, stamping all albums with aural themes built around a simple fragmented melody or a few tinkled keys. This 'stamp' quietly re-appears several times throughout Circlework - central to the success of UL albums Cold Feelings and Ways T' Burn.

Closing track "Falling Bird" harks back to the minimal electronics of Melbourne noodlers Essendon Airport - not surprisingly ex-Airport's Robert Goodge contributes in no small part to Circlework through his deft use of samplers and space echoes.

Fans of UL will file Circlework near other LOVERS albums and the Sonic Animation-assisted Whitey Trickstar album by other side-project GBVG. New listeners will revel in the simple beauty evoked here by the dreamy strum and gentle pulsing electronica. Full marks to Glenn Bennie and others here, hopefully they'll continue to create deep inside their own time and space. This release stands strong among other recent electronica/downtempo/whateveruwannalableit albums.

Copyright © 2004 Brian Stradbrook e-mail address

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