Circulatory System; Nesey Gallons; Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't | Chopin Theatre | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Circulatory System; Nesey Gallons; Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't 

When: Fri., Sept. 18, 10 p.m. 2009
Price: $12
Circulatory System’s new second album, Signal Morning (Cloud Recordings), is darker than the Athens band’s self-titled 2001 debut—but not as much darker as you might expect, given the circumstances. Part of the reason for the long delay was that lead songwriter Will Cullen Hart was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. According to a recent NPR interview, he almost went blind, but after medication put him back on his feet he started recording sketches of new songs, which his bandmates fleshed out and edited together into the album. Though Circulatory System had an affinity with sunnier psychedelic pop like Elf Power and the Olivia Tremor Control (Cullen Hart’s previous band, which he says is working on new material), Signal Morning complicates that innocence right from the start: the bright melody atop the first track, “Woodpecker Greeting Worker Ant,” is almost swallowed by a huge distorted one-note bass throb, swarming squiggles of electronic noise, and staggering, disheveled drums. Even when Cullen Hart reverts to gentle guitar strumming or Panglossian lyrics like “Why not try breathing along with the universe?” there’s always something sinister to undercut him. For every hushed, pretty vocal harmony or shimmer of jingle bells, the band adds a minor-key interlude or some creepily buried singing. This tension provides the magnetic heart of the new album, and its pull only gets stronger with repeated listens. Nesey Gallons and Pipes You See, Pipes You Don’t open. —Ann Sterzinger



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