Review Summary: Circa Survive this is not, but a fully independent release from scene idol Anthony Green.
Anthony Green has a distinctive voice. It seems to have a very polarizing affect. Some love, others can't stand it. Whichever category you fall into, there's no denying the guy is accomplished to say the least. First lending his talents to the tumultuous Saosin, then heading into Circa Survive, his most well known act to date. He also has been doing vocals for the progressive/indie rock band, The Sound of Animals Fighting. All this at the age of 27.
Avalon is Green's first attempt at a solo album, and a very strong attempt it is. Green utilizes the acoustic guitar....pretty much exclusively. There's some bass, and a tad bit of electric guitar, but it's nearly all acoustic. This gives the album a lot of character and allows Green to put his vocals front and center. Avalon showcases the best vocals of Green's career. In Circa Survive and TSOAF, his harsher sound would at times come off as grating and a little irritating, however, Green traded this for a more soothing and crooning sound. It's a good thing this aspect is so well done, because instrumentation takes a back seat. Not to say they're bad, just a little underwhelming.
There really isn't a "bad" song on the album. Some are better than others, and a couple border on boring, but each is good in it's own way. "Devil's Song" is the album's showcase. It has a mood all it's own, is much more varied than the rest, and is a little on the dark side. Counter balancing that is the upbeat poppy "Babygirl." "Drug dealer" and "Dear Child" are also standout tracks. "Califone" and "Plays Ugly for Daddy" are the before mentioned songs that bordered on tedium. As beautiful as they are, there just is not enough variation to give cause for multiple listens.
Anthony Green has crafted an above average solo album. Instead of branching off his success with Circa Survive, he took a completely different route, making this a very fresh and original release. Calming and soothing in some places, and beautiful nearly everywhere. Sadly what makes Avalon so interesting may not appeal to many. Yes there is some variation, but rarely does it break too far away from it's chord/singing formula.