From the opening notes of “Woodpecker Greeting Worker Ant” you know this will be different from the last Circulatory system album. Darker, rougher. Dealing with Multiple Sclerosis can do that to you. But through that pain and almost eight year gap, Signal Morning has emerged as a bright and shiny beacon of what can be done when your life seems to be going to hell.
First and foremost, this is a precious record. What could have easily been a huge compellation of the magnitude of sounds recorded for the album is instead trimmed so only the best moments remain. “Round Again” is the purest example of the band stretching their brand of poppyness into the weirdest of shapes. “Overjoyed” has a string arrangement that would make Andrew Bird jealous and some of the best lyrics Hart has ever written. The title track winds up being the center piece of the album (despite being the last track) with its ever hopeful lyrics, weird sound effects, and being horns, the song has an angle’s halo’s glow to it. Even simple tracks like “News from the Heavenly Loom” wind up having so much warmth to them and the experimental and odd songs like “Electric Diversion” and “I, You, We” feel more in place on this album than they have on others.
Complaints will be made at the lack of cohesiveness between tracks due to Hart’s different mind sets when recording different parts of the album. But cohesiveness is hardly the point of any Circulatory system album or anything Hart has worked on. It has always been to make the best songs from and every sound possible, and with that goal in mind, Signal Morning succeeds beyond anything. All we had to do was wait seven and a half years to hear it again.
(mp3) Circulatory System-Overjoyed (via Stereogum)