The music of New Pagans occupies a world of angular construct, shredded melody, and jagged meaning. Making Circles Of Our Own finds the group stepping beyond the shrouded milieu of The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All, a record defined by a need for expression, New Pagans’ sophomore offering is a release, a deep dive into the depths of the frustration, isolation, and malaise that informs their music.
Opening with the sure-footed indie explosion of ‘Better People’, Making Circles Of Our Own quickly establishes its sonically expanded scope. Guitar melodies meld into mangled clashes of alternative-rock aggression beneath Lyndsey McDougall’s commanding vocal presence, as New Pagans add clarity and focus to proceedings. This clarity is given power by the bands’ bull-by-the-horns approach to mood and theme.
Filtering through songs like the pounding ‘Find Fault’, fast-paced ‘Bigger Homes’, and slow-burn Dinosaur Jr-esque ‘Fresh Young Overlook’, the impact of Making Circles Of Our Own is made from its lucidity. Blended with New Pagans cut-to-quick songwriting and dynamically charged performances, the album is alive with clear and present meaning.
The honed-in edge is also apparent lyrically. Found in the jolting foundations of stand-out track ‘There We Are John’, lines like “People come back to view. The life of This landscape Dream. The rivers run close. It takes forever. This landscape Dream” calls to the need to create art from desolation and isolation, itself a callback to the bands own fervent need for expression.
And so it goes, previously I have said New Pagans are one of my favorite bands, due to the fact their music sounds like it needs to be expression rather than merely wanting to. Making Circles Of Our Own follows this thread, culminating in the natural conclusion of precise and impassioned music that treats the message and the meaning with equal importance.