It's a long step from TV's Lost In Space to the recording studio and it took Billy Mumy a few decades, but he made it and Circular proves it wasn't a fluke. The days of robot warnings ("Danger, Will Robinson! Danger, Will Robinson!") are now days of very impressive pop-, rock-, folk-, jazz-, and blues-oriented music, courtesy of Bill, not Billy. The songs on this album, in fact, have me thinking maybe it should be Mr. Mumy. It's that good.
Circular is another one of those do-it-yourself jobs, a sign of the times. Mumy plays and sings it all except for some voice courtesy of Sarah Taylor and drums and percussion by Chris Ross. Acoustic and electric guitars, bass, keyboards, banjo, mandolin, melodica, and harmonica round out Mumy's repertoire of instruments (on this album, at least) and he handles them very well, indeed. The Chuck Berry-influenced Never Gonna Stop leads off, but if you think it's rock & roll, think again. Johnny's Gone To Heaven has an eerie riff which could have been borrowed from Sopwith Camel's excellent The Miraculous Hump Returns From the Moon album, walking bass beneath jazzy electric piano and stellar and spacey guitar, quite a surprise. Gerry Beckley co-authored Man of Pride with Mumy, a fine song reminiscent of the softer and lighter side of 10CC. If you like folk rock, Care overlays mandolin over shuffling rhythm and a great melody and The Heart's Fantasy does the same with pop and a banjo. Mumy takes the walking folk blues on a ride with Turn Yourself Around, practically goes on Broadway with History (as good a song as I've heard recently and perfect for the musical stage), plays the lounge with Circular Blues and even touches on some major label psych on "Hereby Invited".
As a musician, Mumy acquits himself nicely. As producer and songwriter, he does even better. These are not just songs, they are compositions--- little touches weaving in and out of the songs at unexpected moments, sounds wrapping around sounds, instruments plugged in and taken out at just the right moments. I never would have thought that the goofy kid could do it. Come to think of it, the goofy kid didn't. No robot rock here. Just damn impressive music. And one damn impressive album.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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