House of Dolls interview

Assassins is the debut LP from In Two A Circle, a band who've been around a few years now. It's an intriguing and diverse album, ranging from first class spring timeish dance pop to music with an overt religious feel. The charm spinners are Barry and Bee, who have ex–Strawberry Switchblade Rose as backing singer. Last year, as fans will know, they dispensed with the drummer and lead guitarist as they felt better working on their own.
“Barry played everything except the accordion on the LP, which is what we wanted. I think it's much better because the stuff we're doing now is a lot more true to what we really are,” Bee explained.
Was it more difficult with the other two in the band?
It wasn't difficult getting on with them—we got on fine. But at the time we didn't know how off course we were, really.
Was it only when you started seriously getting down to the album.…
Yeah, when we realised how much better we were with just the two of us. Rose came up after we'd recorded most of the stuff, and she did the backing vocals.

In Two A Circle songs always contain fascinating references, emotions and images in the lyrics. But, a problem can be that it's not always clear what Bee's talking about. An example would be ‘The Swinging Tree’. It's a fave of Bees, but even through constant playing I can't fathom it out. “I picture you sleeping, close your eyes/I picture you swinging, from the tallest tree/Suffering your sins, suffer in your sin.…” Err, can you explain?
It's about a hunger that everyone has for other people, the way they use people in various ways. It's just the imagery and sexual, er.…it's quite frightening…I find it really hard to explain.…
And I wish I hadn't asked. There wasn't, couldn't be, a ready–made explanation for such an oblique song. Bee was having problems thinking one up.
Things like ‘The Swinging Tree’ come from me without thinking about it. People should listen to our music without us having to explain everything because I find it difficult and I don't know where a lot of the lyrics come from. I just write them, it just comes.
So we leave it at that and move on…
“If I can conquer I can pull on strings and call out demons” is a line from ‘Seraphin Twin’ another newie to me.
That one is a story. It's about a Mexican (Moroccan) boy who discovers that he can conjure up these demons for his own benefit. Seraphin is an old Hebrew name for an angel. The name's got no connections except the angels are like demons.
It's in the first person, isn't it?
I wanted it to be quite childish, lyrically and the way he sings the lyrics. He doesn't quite know what's happening—suddenly he gets all these powers.

First track on the LP is ‘Beneath Mikhail’. That's changed a lot—I've got a tape from when you did it live in Nottingham in February 1987…
It's really weird because the way it is now is the way we actually wrote it, the way it originally sounded because there was just the two of us. Then we took it into a live context, we played it with a band and it was a lot rockier and I think all the feeling went out of it.

‘Evergreen’ is the new single from In Two A Circle. On the surface it sounds like just graceful, optimistic pop, possibly referring to flowers and trees, but a look at the lyrics gives clues to the songs real meaning, “In each marble pyramid a sacrifice of youth, And I find myself, deep inside the house of prayers, Where the light never falls, where the light forever falls…”
It's based on a book that I read, about a bloke who designed these churches that are all around London. They are done to magical formulae, the way they are positioned around London. The churches are AMAZING. I actually saw one of the churches before I read the book, it's not at all gothic, it's got lots of sharp angles and it's made out of white lime, not a gothic church at all. It's about protection really, you know, how a church is supposed to be a sanctuary.

The bravest moves on Assassins I feel are ‘'ElIm’ and ‘Allah Akhbar’, overtly religious tracks. What's the fascination? Seeing Islamics and Jews kill each other on the news every night it seems religion does nothing but harm.
People need it, don't they? They need controlling. I think it's very animal, there's instinct to it. It keeps a lot of order…
Do you need controlling?
Yeah, but I don't have any religion, but people need discipline and a uniform, and that way a few people like us can drop out.
Well thanks, I think, I will.

Assassins is a challenging LP. You probably won't understand it at all and some bits take a while to grow on you, while some provide instant joy i.e. ‘Evergreen’, ‘Tender Skin’ and the title track. All is worth checking out, because Bee and Barry's music is refreshing, a treasure chest of compelling feelings and ideas. Miss at your peril!

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