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Even with all the popular success that greeted Wide-Eyed Wonder and the band's relentless touring in support of that record, the circumstances that surrounded the creation of Circle Slide were fraught with difficulty, not unlike Chase the Kangaroo, to which this album is often compared. After the upbeat examination of birth and family relationships, The Choir returns to addressing more complex and somber topics, which are set against the moody, dream-like compositions for which the band is best known. As a result, many critics and long-time listeners consider this album to be the band's finest work, although others would argue that Chase the Kangaroo deserves that honor. That argument still continues to this day.
Speaking of arguments, creative disagreements between bassist Robin Spurs and the rest of the band came to a head during the recording sessions of this album, and were serious enough that Spurs quit The Choir altogether before the album was halfway finished. Because the breakup was not at all amicable, her departure was notably unpublicized in light of all the massive attention that greeted her entry into the band. Derri Daugherty took over bass duties for the rest of the album, while David Miner--who was then currently working with Mark Heard--filled in on one track and former bassist Mike Sauerbrey made a surprise appearance on the album's closing song, "Restore My Soul." Spurs would later join the Christian "all-girl" pop/rock band Rachel Rachel on tour for their second and final album, then leave music entirely in order to pursue a successful career in jewelry, fashion design, and web design; eventually she found her way back to music with the Pearl project.
In addition to the behind-the-scenes recording tensions, it is obvious that not all was bliss in the household of Steve Hindalong either, whose confessional lyrics deal with marital tug-of-war ("About Love") and the frustrations of living in a too-small house ("If I Had A Yard"). However, those difficulties are balanced out by the acknowledgment of true love for his wife despite the tension ("A Sentimental Song") and a number of songs about one's relationship to God ("Merciful Eyes," "Restore My Soul," and the title track). Circle Slide also marks the first time that Hindalong uses allusions to and actual lyrical snippets from his previous work. The title track refers to "children of time," a song from Chase the Kangaroo, while "Blue Skies" alludes to both "Happy Fool" and "Robin Had A Dream" from Wide-Eyed Wonder. Hindalong would continue this trend on almost every subsequent release by The Choir.
Although Circle Slide was greeted with almost universal critical praise, the one complaint lodged against the album is that it is too short. Not counting the "Laugh Loop" instrumental and the brief "Tear For Tear," the album actually only contains seven full-length songs. Despite this, the album solidified the band's important role in the development of Christian alternative music, so it was later listed at #53 in the book, CCM Presents: The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music.