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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

SF's Sunbeam Rd. Goes Proggy on New Single 'Circular Breathing'

Posted By on Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge Sunbeam Rd. performing at Milk Bar in September
  • Sunbeam Rd. performing at Milk Bar in September
The name Circular Breathing makes us think of all sorts of difficult and impressive things, like playing the didgeridoo, the saxophone, and the trumpet while breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. So its a fitting name for the practiced, precise new single from S.F.'s Sunbeam Rd., which comes out today, and which you can download here for free.

This young band has always had a promising proggy streak, and "Circular Breathing" (both the single and the track), expand on the section-stitching ideas we liked on June's Turtles, Magnets, Animals EP.

There's obvious progress in ideas, structure, and musicianship displayed on these two new songs, especially in the vocal harmonies on "Circular Breathing." But we miss the old EP's chaos. Both "Circular Breathing" and "Memory Loss" escalate with guitar-and-bass interplay and distant vocals, rising slowly, but their shift from quiet, twinkling sections into slow tom-tom pounds seems sure to forebode a climax that neither song provides. Instead of a big, point-making moment of truth, the songs simply, and rather suddenly, evaporate. That's too bad, because with all Sunbeam Rd. can do now musically, it'd be fun to see what it sounds like when the band stops its subtle breathing and lets out a scream.

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