Forgotten series: The A’dam Sykles – Out of the Circle Game (2009)

There’s a definite Byrds and Love influence happening with Rome, Italy’s A’dam Sykles and Out of the Circle Game. They have their influences down pat, yet boast a contemporary approach. Massimo Del Pozzo, the main man/songwriter and former Others guitarist/singer, leads this five-piece band — which reminds me somewhat of their U.S./UK psychedelic/garage contemporaries the Higher State. You’ll find that both tread similar, abeit slightly different, paisley waters.

The album-opening sitar-driven “Om” sets the mood, with A’dam Sykles finding themselves covered up in a Marshmallow Overcoat. But their dreamier approach separates this band slightly at times from the former, as with the Love-influenced “Shades of Blue” — which features delightful flute flourishes and Beatles-like backwards guitar. The baroque touches of “Feel The Pain (Roby’s Song),” the short instrumental intro “Sugarplum Fairy,” the relaxing solo acoustic guitar instrumental “Daisy” and the gentle classical acoustic guitar/string quartet instrumental “Victor’s Lullaby” set them apart somewhat from the album’s other tunes. I could imagine this last instrumental in a film soundtrack.

“Sunshine Girl” has a breezy Boyce and Hart/sunshine-pop dance feel to it. Speaking of soundtracks, this swell tune could’ve fit on the Casino Royale soundtrack. The pleasant “She Lives In My Mind” flows pretty well with Daniele Onorati’s swirling organ, which levitates this song. The Love/Byrds melodic drive of “Yellow Day” guides this sunny song. I could see it placed on an early Three O’Clock album, like Sixteen Tambourines. It’s easily the best song on the whole album. I think Arthur Lee would’ve been proud.

“Rain Child” ends Out of the Circle Game (Teen Sound Records) on a very rockin’ note, with some very cool freakbeat guitar. It’s a close second place contender for the album’s best song, with some great ’67 fuzzy guitar and vocal harmonies happening here. Think early Jefferson Airplane, Love and the Jimi Hendrix Experience at their rocking late-1960s best.

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Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott has written for Shindig, Twist and Shake, Garage & Beat and Ugly Things. A big fan of all things rock and roll - especially the British Invasion, garage rock, psychedelic, new wave, folk rock, surf and power pop - he was a consultant on Sundazed Music's reissue of 'The Best of Butch Engle & The Styx: No Matter What You Say' in 2000, and has also provided liner notes for Italy's Misty Lane Records. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.