Spiritbox have a big new single on their hands in ‘Circle With Me’. I just wish I liked it more.
Y’all know that I fucking love Spiritbox, they’re talented performers and songwriters who have released some truly stellar tracks, and I have all the time in the world for them. Yet ‘Circle With Me‘ is the first time since hearing their self-titled 2017 EP where I haven’t been impressed by a Spritbox release. Not on the first listen, nor on the tenth.
The OG ‘Holy Roller‘ (and not the clear cash-grab of its Ryo Kinoshita re-release) represented the band at their heaviest and darkest, the lovely ‘Constance‘ at their most melodic and heartfelt, and the double-whammy of ‘Rule Of Nines‘ and ‘Blessed Be‘ were terrific all-rounders for their artsy and melodic prog-metalcore vision. While one shouldn’t expect every song from the Canadian trio to be something super different or fresh, ‘Circle With Me‘ does inevitably feel extremely paint-by-numbers. Like the band kinda went through the motions when writing. I don’t hate the song or anything, but I also felt nothing whilst listening. Nothing interesting about this equally heavy and melodic, Architects-aping arrangement or its interpersonal conflict lyrcisim about getting nowhere in the end really grabbed me.
Starting with a lo-fi EQ intro like all of their preceding big four singles, the band launches into the familiar musical territory they’ve become so well-loved once Courtney LaPlante screams “cut down the altar!” With the hook-fuelled choruses, backing atmospherics, a stupidly heavy single breakdown, and Mike Stringer’s fitting but seemingly recycled-sounding harmonics and riffs all in their expected positions. There aren’t any big surprises to be had, and while that’s not the end of the world, this new track – culled from what will no doubt be their debut LP – definitely feels quite measured and stock for what Spiritbox can do. Though a high point for me was definitely the subtle but still noticeable backing screams and heavy-weightlifting bass tones of Bill Crook.
I can see how people will love this single; it’s a very balanced iteration of Spiritbox’s sound, with one of those “little bit for everyone” angles of where they’ve ventured recently. But oh well, you can’t like everything from a band you love – that’s just uncritical echo-chamber loyalty. Check out ‘Circle With Me‘ for yourself below: