I’m not going to sit on the fence with this one – you need Vienna Ditto’s “Circle” in your life! This is an epic filmic trip, that carries you off into a huge sense of space where giant currents of music collide & writhe like horny krakens. Vienna Ditto describe themselves as “Voodoo Sci-Fi Blues” and that is every bit as awesome as it sounds.
“Mediocrity borrows, genius steals”: “Circle” doesn’t so much wear its stolen influences on its sleeve as it sews them together at weird angles and then rides them off the edge of the world into the Twilight Zone. In ‘This is Normal’ the bone-clonk rimshots and big drums of early Joy Division run full tilt into Dr Who theremins. The finale track: ‘I Know this Blood’ begins with bare, raw gospel and ends in an enormous snarling, menacing crescendo that could soundtrack a city-levelling kaiju battle.
Vienna Ditto eat, sleep & breathe their music and this shows in “Circle”‘s effortless mastery of light and shade; with a huge dynamic range from the lightest of touches (like ‘Wintertime’ which is Gershwin-through-a-looking-glass-darkly) to savage blues tsunami stomp (like ‘Feeling Good’, one of the singles). Vienna Ditto are never afraid to let the music breathe in dry, sparse sections that draw the listener in, and they cheerfully turn a song around on the head of a pin and gallop off up the path less trodden.
Throughout Hatty Taylor’s vocals intertwine seamlessly with the instrumentation, whether silky, sultry or soaring, sometimes otherworldly or even sinister. Meanwhile Nigel Firth hauls a Danse Macabre of howls, growls, snarls and ululations out of keyboards and guitars; but no matter the twists & turns Vienna Ditto deliver memorable, evocative, melodic songs.
From the intense orchestral Ultravox-vibe of ‘Oh Josephine’; through the ass-kicking Tarantinoesque groove of ‘Long Way Down’ (both released as singles); the slink-slide carnival twang of ‘A Happy Car is a Stolen Car’; via beautiful death song ‘Pale Horse Rider’ – where guitars rattle & hum under shivery, ethereal vocals; to the storming weirdcore anthem of ‘Hammer and a Nail’ (another single) – “Circle” never fails in its intensity.
“Circle” is strong medicine, an antidote to the bland blah of mainstream pablum. Incroyable!