By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
The first thing anybody remarks about Circle Takes the Square is their unique name. "Its significance varies depending on how you interpret it, I suppose," says guitarist Drew Speziale. "Use your imagination, check out Greek architecture and Chinese creation mythology, and you'll probably end up really, really far from the reason we're called Circle Takes the Square. But maybe you'll learn something in the process."
Hailing from Savannah, Georgia, Circle Takes the Square has established their presence with haunting guitar intros, inventive song titles and a penchant for fluid, natural lyrics. The band's influences range from ambient to hardcore, resulting in a sound that both evades categorization and inspires the occasional rap remix.
Their 2004 debut full-length album, As the Roots Undo, is the sharpest any band could ever hope for. With an evident willingness to experiment, Circle Takes the Square pushes the limits of screamo (or progressive hardcore—or whatever it is that you feel like calling it this week): "Kill the Switch" launches headfirst into an instrumental onslaught, while alternating vocals from Speziale and bassist Kathy Coppola mirror the crescendos of Josh Ortega's furious drum fills, and "Non-Objective Portrait of Karma" does just the opposite, accelerating from a sinuous intro to strategic disorder.
And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I finally figured out what they were singing about: "Life is lowly anonymity; in death a noble pose, a Marat David!" College was good for something after all.
Circle Takes the Square with Junius, the Dolemite Project, Comadre and Graf Orlock at the Blvd Café, 2631 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 261-3090. Wed., 8 p.m. $7. All ages.