When you start feeling like 2017 has been one of the darker years in human history, just remember that this has all happened before: The world has slipped into the incompetent hands of spiteful bigots before, falling victim to those who wield prejudice like a sword “in the name of the greater good.” But knowledge is power, and history proves again and again that fear-mongering and divisive behavior only cause more pain and conflict, not less. Ohio-born, LA-based band Line & Circle capture the current moment’s internal sufferings and external strife on their new EP Vicious Folly, delivering a restless and relentless wave of raw, emotionally-charged energy.
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Vicious Folly, out December 1, 2017 via Grand Gallop (also home to Atwood faves ADLT VDEO). The follow-up to their 2015 debut album Split Figure finds Line & Circle dwelling heavily in present-day madness, employing a wall-of-sound like build-up of dynamic guitar riffs, evocative drums, and close-up vocals to inject their songs with feverish tension. Mostly tracked live-to-tape in a single day with producer Michael Harris (Angel Olsen’s My Woman), Vicious Folly depicts a band that is comfortable and secure in its sound, yet always pushing its limits. Consisting of singer/guitarist Brian J. Cohen, guitarist Eric Neujahr, bassist Jon Engelhard and drummer Garrett Ray, Line & Circle spark an alt-rock fire that burns in one place.
According to the band, Vicious Folly “explores a belief the Romans held centuries ago: homo homini lupus — man is a wolf to man.” In other words, we are our own worst enemy; our own greatest threat. This theory may be no more real than it was 2000 years ago, yet it feels disquietingly appropriate for 2017, where politics has long gone beyond the yawn-worthy doldrums of C-SPAN’s Congressional proceedings, and affects much of our daily lives – whether we want it to or not. Beyond that, Line & Circle take an inside look at our broken pieces – diving down from 100 feet to embrace the difficult, complex emotions we still face in our daily lives.
In some ways, life is no different than it was 5, 10, 100 or 2000 years ago: It’s still humans killing humans, humans helping humans… humans being humans. Here we are, facing the same challenges again and again. It’s a nasty pattern; you’d think we might learn something by now. Yet perhaps if enough voices denounce intolerance, we might find some harmony to cling to. It’s enough reason to hope for a brighter future.
By observing, experiencing and reacting to present-day problems on large and intimate scales, Line & Circle’s Vicious Folly presents itself as being so much more than a collection of songs: It’s a conversation starter, a catalyst for light and serious discussion. Experience the full record via our exclusive stream, and peek inside Vicious Folly EP with Atwood Magazine as Line & Circle provide their personal take on this brand new record!
Listen: “Vicious Folly” – Line & Circle
:: Inside Vicious Folly ::
The impossible anguish of knowing you’ve hurt the person you love the most, and not knowing how to make them feel safe. The title is taken from something Steve Reich said in an old documentary from the ’80s.
When society betrays its best values, and clings to fear and intolerance in hope of security. Reminded me of ancient Athens, when Socrates was blamed for the city’s decline, put on trial, and sentenced to death. This became a bigger theme for the song and the whole record — how society’s painful struggle for advancement can sometimes lead people to violent actions they might not have otherwise considered.
Who Runs Wild
Inspired by a hand-written note from a friend in middle school I found in my childhood bedroom in Akron last winter. She was in a bad situation with her mother, and her details of their relationship in the note were stunning and shocking to re-discover after all these years. This pre-dates the current opioid crisis but is a chilling reminder that such things have been tearing families apart for decades.
Progress & Pain
Our first instrumental track, a collage of bass clarinet pulses, analogue sine wave oscillators, and distorted tape loops, that seemed to somehow convey the tensions and frustrations of the day, implied in the title.
Despite the dark turn of events in recent years, there is always hope that meaningful and significant good can eventually spring forth as a result of social turmoil. Man can be a wolf to man, but he is also the only one who can save him.
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photo © Grand Gallop