Hands Return To Shake

Circuit Breaker

Harbinger Sound Records, 2019

http://circuitbreakerband.bandcamp.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/30/2019

Circuit Breaker is a unique duo from London, where Peter Simpson contributes guitars and vocals that draw comparisons to the gothic punk sounds of the '80s and his brother Edward brings synth melodies and electronica ideas. It is a formula that is often minimal, abstract, and glitchy in all the best ways.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Soft Talk” gets the sophomore album started with all sorts of creative electronica sounds, as a haunting setting of post-punk and synth rock settles in to the buzzing affair. “Hands Return To Shake” follows with a similar ominous tone that's sort of sci-fi influenced and with dark, distant vocals that would satiate any Joy Division fan.

Side A also offers the meticulous manipulation of “Propulsion,” which builds into a busy display of cautious, yet biting instrumentation with baritone singing and thicker guitars. Meanwhile, “Black Sprays” offers unusual yet fascinating texturing in the mysterious atmosphere. “Transient Life” ends the first side with three minutes of ambient, soothing sounds, making it the most, dare I say, accessible tune present.

Side B continues with the same unpredictable approach, as “Assemblege” assembles video game noises into a bleeping meets droning punk highlight, and “Thoughts Return” finds the band entering a trance-like delivery that's all kinds of hazy, dreamy, surreal. At the end, “Possession” switches gears into an almost upbeat tune with bright melodies alongside beats and restrained vocals, and “Alert” exits the record percussively strong and powerful, although musically bare.

Circuit Breaker can't decide if they are a post-punk duo or an electronica outfit, and we're all better off for it, as they split the difference in creative, nostalgic, and charming ways. Self-described as “synthetically enhanced punk,” if bands like Wire, Bauhaus, New Order, or Pan Sonic mean anything to you, then Hands Return To Shake should absolutely gain a spot in your collection.

Rating: A-

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