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Vincent, Phil - 2001 Circular Logic

Phil Vincent - vocals, guitars, keyboards
Glenn Cipalone - bass
Dirk Phillips - drums

An ambitious release from Rhode Island's favourite rock son Phil Vincent, and without doubt his best effort so far. You cannot question Phil's unrelenting work ethic. It's great stuff to see and hear, and now we are seeing what he is truly capable of. 'Circular Logic' is a double CD set with twenty songs, plus a dedicated bassist and drummer. The focus which is on fast paced and riff happy guitar oriented rockers is where Phil thrives. It's great that he mixes it up with ballads and mid paced efforts, but the finesse for the latter two is not quite there yet IMO. Give it time though, it will come.. 'Circular Logic' has a lot of keyboard parts in it, and this does help to fill it out and give it a bit of atmosphere. On top of that, the production is much better this time around.

The Songs

A fantastic start with 'Rise Up'. Guitar grunt all the way through with a cool chorus to boot. This is matched by the impressive 'Long Hard Look', another melodic fast paced rocker. The keyboard stabs are great on this one. 'If..' takes a long time to get going with those Styx-ian keyboards parping away, and for ten minutes worth of music it does tend to meander somewhat. Some would call it epic in a progressive rock sort of way. I'd call it a part epic, though it's not bad! 'Too Far Gone' has some haunting keyboard melodies that familiarise with Roger Scott Craig's (Harlan Cage) style, while I quite liked the clever keyboard lines during the chorus of 'If You Ever Want Me'. Some tracks which didn't quite do it for me were 'Tupelo Drive' which took nearly one and half minutes to get cracking, and the wimpy piano based ballad 'Second Chance'.

Again, another racy start with the guitar-gantuan opener 'Take It Away'. Lyrically 'Torn' is a story of a man defeated in love. Michael Riesenbeck's guitar solo is featured here and sounds pretty cool. 'Shining Through' moves in the same vein as Mastedon material, great rhythm guitar work here. 'In The Balance' is a generation throwback to early eighties melodic rock which would pick up a few fans on this site at least. 'Undertow' is a smooth mid paced effort, followed by the hard rockin' style of 'Almost Home'. The constant cymbal splash in 'Another Hit And Run' spoiled what was essentially a good track, with nice Styx like keys and strong guitar lines. The closer '3.45am' is another epic attempt, clocking in at 9.53, with as much undulation as the San Andreas Fault on a calm day. It's similar to 'If..' off CD#1 in it's epic approach, and though it's long, we can thank the lucky stars it wasn't going to compete with Iron Butterfly's 23 minute 'Side 1' opera 'Inna Gadda Da Vida'.

Some of the keyboard intro's are overly long. Quite intricate and clever, but not really achieving the end result I feel. It's like a storyteller warming us up for the sucker punch, but it never arrives. The drum sound still needs a bit of work, especially those toms on CD#1 which could probably do with a bit of 'air' or reverb effects to make them sound less flat. Perhaps a guy like Danny Danzi might be an inspiration. Danny is essentially a one man band but makes it sound as if he's got thunderous cannons behind him despite the muddiness of the mix.

In Summary
Yes, some of the songs work very well, while some need to be more focused (ie: shorter). The keyboard embellishments are great, but in some cases they needed better aural flavours. Guitar rockers is where the focus should be, using a sparse arrangement of keys, and not the other way around. However, I feel Phil is on the right track, and heeding all the advice and experience of those who are interested in, and care about his music. I can say that GDAZE definitely does, and we look forward to the day when the masterpiece arrives.


Track Listing:

Disc #1
01 Rise Up
02 Time Out Time In
03 Tupelo Drive
04 Outside Looking In
05 Long Hard Look
06 Hit & Run
07 If..
08 Too Far Gone
09 Second Chance
10 If You Ever Want Me

Disc #2
01 Take It Away
02 Torn
03 Shining Through
04 In The Balance
05 Doin' My Best
06 Heart Of Stone
07 Undertow
08 Almost Home
09 Another Hit & Run
10 3.45am

Related Articles:

Phil Vincent - 2001 Tragic

Phil Vincent - 2001 Circular Logic

Phil Vincent - 2005 Unknown Origin

Phil Vincent - 2008 Passion And Pain

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