The Farewell Circuit’s “In Our Bones” is an uneven but promising effort

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As represented by the uneven album In Our Bones, when alt rock band The Farewell Circuit are on, they nail it, coming across with a fresh, original sound that readily appeals. When they are off, they miss by a mile, quirky and pretentious, smacking of amateurism. What the hell, nobody’s perfect. Point is, the strengths of In Our Bones make the disc well worth checking out. And with considerably more reliance on chops and less leaning on gimmicks, it’d be a winning effort.  Sometimes it’s better to go with a solid EP than trying to stretch material over a full-length project.

The vocals by Danny O’Brien (guitar/piano) are wispy, not altogether a failing. In fact, he’s reminiscent of seminal late 60s alt band Pearls Before Swine’s front man Tom Rapp—as a lyricist as well (regrettably there’s no lyric sheet and listeners have to settle for being about to make out snatches here and there of intriguing thought).

Like Rapp, O’Brien plays the slight vocal hand he’s been dealt, singing delicate lines, reflective, in a word, honest. His vulnerability, just this side of raw, sweetly engages. “10.08.10,” for instance, is lovely, wonderfully effective in its subtle grace. “Time to say goodnight/ You lived a long, long life/ Will see you on the other side/ Save a place for me/ Beneath the olive tree.” There’s something about Jesus after that, but, it isn’t sung clearly (what’d I say about a lyric sheet). The cut is a soft-rock gem that veritably haunts.

“The Light” is another strong turn. “Make It Right,” on the other hand, is bogged down in an over-produced intro of sound effects that never goes anywhere. By the time you get to the song, itself, who cares? Added to which, the material here is static. You can tell from the few words you make out that it’s a criticism of society. But music, first and foremost, is about social statements second and listenable sound as a priority. “Oh My God,” just forget about. Weak is the word. The music’s mundane and, for this song, even the lyrics are trite.

Uneven works have at least one thing going for them: promise. The Farewell Circuit would do well to deliver on the potential shown by In Our Bones.