Tehzeeb - Circle (1998)

Sponsors in Pakistan generally prefer to extend financial aid to bands who are into pop music, but Circle have been most fortunate to snag one for themselves, being primarily a pop/rock act. Their debut album titled "Tehzeeb", is the result of their merger with an international jeans label. A pleasant mix of guitar courtesy, Adnan Afaq, keyboard magic and vocals: Tanseer Dar and Waqar Jaffery, respectively and bass assault by Khalid Mustapha, Circle is a progressive effort, by the foursome.

The magnetic strip kicks off with "Tehzeeb", hardcore club streaked with alternative and Tanseer's astonishing vocals considering his high-pitched voice. "Jawaab Do" flows in with its socio-political lyrics and a cry for justice. "Zindagi" is where the guitar is let loose and neo-classical scales rent the air coupled with a quirky and catchy drum beat. "Safar", a love song is for once minus the soppy, musy, run-of-the-mill lyrics, and the quick rise and fall of vocal notes adds a trip to the song. "Zaina", once again sees the guitar being given full rein and the back vocals couple with the quirky tapping to project a psychedelic aura. "Trust Me" brings out the Satriani, Steve Vai streaks in Adnan and the guitar picking in the latter part of the tune shows an Yngwie Malmsteen feel. Adnan draws onto the teachings of all his influences and gives the song a beautifully serene feel projected by the title.

The flip side takes off with "Ahsasaat", where catchy keys and distorted guitar project a rather disjointed but synchronized in itself feel. "Khoobsurat" has the "Roxette" air to it and the vocals lend their touch to perfect the image. "Jana Hai" is unique in its lyrical content. "Baghi" is the band's rebel yell and the devil-may-care drums and metal guitar add to the atmosphere. "Waqt" is the regular Richard Marx style romantic ballad. The guitar works take the cake and keyboard programming is deft. The vocals are a bit side-tracked at times but with another album and more practice will prove to be very captivating. The bass seems non-existent at times and a suggestion would be to bring it out in the front a little more. Nevertheless, Circle have places to go and things to do and their debut album is definitely the right step in that direction.

Ayesha Khalid
TV Times, Pakistan