Circulatory System's self-titled debut is as close as you can get to another Olivia Tremor Control record. The album is standard fare for Elephant 6 fans: beautiful and childish melodies served over psychedelic backgrounds (some of these are presumably supplied by listeners who responded to a call for dream sequences in the liner notes of Black Foliage). The cast features the same familiar faces of the Olivias' albums, the only notable exceptions being Bill Doss, who parted ways to form the Sunshine Fix, and Robert Schneider, who was never really a bandmember anyway. The mood, however, is darker and more pensive than anything the Olivias ever released, with William Cullen Hart's somber chord progressions and breathy, mumbled vocals replacing the ecstatic gaiety of his past work. Gone, too, are the Olivias' trademarks: the dream-like sonic density, the non-sequiturs, the tape loops, and the accidents involving scissors and glue. The sounds here are similar, but come off as quirky and clean instead of gritty and experimental. This is not to say that William Hart should stick to the formula, but he should decide whether to make another Olivia Tremor Control record or not to make another Olivia Tremor Control record. This sounds like something in between, and so the album turns out ambivalent and unexceptional.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Farrill