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The Sewing Circle

I Saw Stars

(self-released; US: 2 Nov 2010; UK: 11 Oct 2010)

A mixed bag, on purpose

Variety seems to be the watchword for The Sewing Circle, a spirited three-piece that alternates vocalists as effectively as it jumps from energetic hard rock to soulful alternative to downtempo introspection. Andrew Rhodes (guitar), Meg Blake (bass, keyboards, guitars) and Cajun Keeton (drums) all take turns on vocal duties, and the result is an ever-shifting musical landscape. “Lead Role” kicks off the 6-song EP, I Saw Stars, with thrashing guitar and nerdy vocals (think Smashing Pumpkins), while follow-up “So As in Salem” is built around energetic acoustic strumming and an underpinning of accordion, along with vocals that sound piped in from Midnight Oil’s Peter Garrett. Don’t get too comfortable with the folk-rock vibe, because the distortion ramps up in the second half of the song, and remains throughout much of the rest of the record. Meg Blake’s voice takes center stage for “Love Games” and gentle closer “Until Now”, which may be the two most memorable tunes on the record. Undeniably competent, The Sewing Circle doesn’t exactly establish a distinct identity in these songs, but instead lays out a template which promises to be increasingly interesting as the band takes it forward.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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