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Artist: Circleslide 
Label: Centricity Records 
Length: Four songs 

Recently, the touring ShoutFest Christian rock festival made a stop here in central Louisiana. I offered to cover the event for the newspaper where I'm employed. For late September the weather was great and the music was terrific. And while there was some energetic young bands on hand, being of the old school, I was mostly interested in seeing Petra (my first time since seeing them in early '91 on the "Beyond Belief" tour). 

And while Petra was great, I was also impressed with a young new rock quartet from San Antonio, Texas called Circleslide. Yep, if the name sounds familiar, well, it should. That was the title of the Choir's stunning 1990 album. And as Circleslide lead singer and guitarist Gabe Martinez tells it, "the Choir were ahead of their time," adding that the "Circle Slide" album was "revolutionary for us." 

So, when the Gabriel Martinez Band was looking for a name that didn't scream "salsa music," as Gabe put it, the foursome settled on "Circleslide" (Martinez said the Choir is cool with the name and that Steve Hindalong will be checking them out soon). And talking to Gabe and his bassist brother Tim Martinez, it's clear that they have an appreciation for quality pop and rock music. They referenced the 77's, Rich Mullins and U2 as sources of inspiration. 

And listening to their just-released EP "Connectology," the atmospheric rock and pop connection is crystal clear. The stunning opening track, "Home," starts out with some strings and a Coldplay-esque piano. Then Gabe, whose voice reminds me a bit of Richard Marx, bursts with energy and passion ... 

"Follow the light into the sun / follow the moon to everyone / autumn is brown, winter is gray / you are still here, day after day / I'm coming home, I'm coming home ... today / Home, where the flowers grow, a place for us to go, where I don't feel alone." 

It's a very inspiring and uplifting track. 

"Soul," with it's jangly and moody guitars and tambourines is a dead ringer for Travis, circa "The Invisible Band," except that unlike Travis lead singer Fran Healey, Gabe Martinez has a bit more optimism in his voice. You sense that things are going to be all right in the end, as he bares his soul. 

And just as the song title implies, "Possession" has a bewitching quality that also, thanks to some screeching guitar effects from lead guitarist Aaron Gillies and the rock solid drumming of David Blackburn, has an epic quality that is hard to shake. It's really rather stunning hearing it, particularly for a band just really starting out. 

The final song, "Next Best Thing," is pure Brit-pop-via-Texas pleasure. It brings to mind the music of the Ocean Blue or Poole, except that the vocals are much more upfront and midway through the song, Gillies' guitar gets a bit more muscular, giving it a more straightforward rock sound and approach. 

"I'll never break your heart," Martinez sings in the chorus, as the band forges ahead. Man, this song should be on modern rock radio stations from coast-to-coast. The ShoutFest folks were really smart when they signed Circleslide on to their tour. 

And I know it  may sound cliched, but I really believe Circleslide is a band to watch and a band we'll be hearing from in the future. I mean, how can you go wrong when you've got Steve Hindalong's blessing? 

For more information go to or to 

Andrew West Griffin  10/03/04 



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