This album hooked me from the first lick. It was a smart piece of market exposure for Edie Brickell and Harper Simon to pitch their new collaboration on NPR, where I and 12 million other listeners were treated to generous samples of their new creation on All Things Considered. I've had The Heavy Circles in permanent rotation ever since.
Each track has a distinct flavor and feel, and all complement Brickell's ethereal voice and considerable artistic range. Harper Simon both produced and plays guitar and bass on the album with Brickell (who incidentally is his stepmother) and is responsible for pulling together a number of other talented musicians on this project, including Sean Lennon and Martha Wainwright.
The first track, "Henri", washes over you with vocals and instruments blending in different time signatures, and only later did I recognize in the lyrics an homage to Matisse. I see it is a free download at Amazon (where I am also posting this review) so do not fail to treat yourself before you buy the album. "Need a Friend" is a reggae vehicle complete with righteous horn hits, while "Dynamite Child" thrashes with pre-techno glory and sounds for all the world like a Japanese punk band covering Bauhaus. There are hints of Creedence and Lou Reed in "Ready to Play", and "Easier" makes me think of what the Jayhawks or a producer like Joe Henry might have done with a female vocalist of Edie's caliber.
Here's hoping they'll make it a regular thing. Music this good can't be limited to a single album.