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.