Circa Survive
Blue Sky Noise


3.0
good

Review

by TheWayfarerElectric USER (7 Reviews)
April 17th, 2010 | 31 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Those who desire a release with a surprising amount of innovation or depth will find this album lacking; those who desire a fun release with a few progressive tendencies to boot will rejoice.

In the aftermath of the post-hardcore band, Saosin, Anthony Green combined forces with members of the now-defunct This Day Forward to create the Philadelphia-based Circa Survive. Combining aspects of indie, ambient, and alternative rock, the band began to experiment with textural differences and "progressive elements". This combination was essentially the whole of Juturna the band's first full-length. Subject to mixed critical reception, many noted that Circa Survive was ambitious, but not original. Spacious elements seemed to be as far as any ambience went, and a cold riff here and there was an apparent substitute for a metal influence. This flaw was exemplified on On Letting Go which was essentially impotent bombast. After this release, several lost faith in the band, but still the hype-train rolled on in just for Blue Sky Noise. But for those who were doubtful, the main question was whether or not the band would create a new sound. Since their first two albums were nearly identical, it would shock a jaded skeptic if they did so. And if they did, even less of these skeptics would assume it to be any better than their former sound. Fortunately, skeptics can begin to forgive, as Blue Sky Noise is the band's progress personified.

When examining Blue Sky Noise in detail, it is apparent that Green and company have learned to craft songs that strike with math-rock precision, yet accentuate their pop sensibilities. Opener "Strange Terrain" is a spry example of Circa Survive’s intricacy, as are the chipper tunes of "I Felt Free". Here, Green's lyrics are reflective of the whole album: somewhat introspective, reflective, and ultimately a retrospect. Without changing much about his subject matter, his lyrical competence is far superior than before. Similarly, Green's vocals stylings follow suit. Still, his high-pitched voice soars, but this time, Green seems to have taken into account his band’s new pop punk oriented sound. However, Green’s voice does bring its fair share of problems.

First off, Green’s voice still alternates between an angst-ridden croon and a honey-sweet tone in a rather contrived way. And still, they come across as homogenous rather than extensive. The same goes for the musicianship. Though not as intrusive as before, some of the more progressive tidbits of this album seem haphazard. Electronics and acoustic instruments are rarely used to highlight the more obnoxiously jovial aspects of Blue Sky Noise. The band’s third full-length has tapped into a palpable amount of powerpop, alternative rock, and pop punk. When combined, the result is slightly tepid, slightly cheesy mash of genres.

Blue Sky Noise is the marriage between electric music variants, pop-punk, post-hardcore, some transethnic qualities, and acoustic music. However, the result of this pair is a surplus of tracks which oftentimes don't fit in. The instrumental "Copendium" isn’t inherently bad, it just barely fits the grand scheme of Blue Sky Noise (if at all). "Glass Arrows" takes a minute flaw and accentuates it: Scanning between genres in a scatter-shot manner without purpose. Still, the real faults lie within "Get Out" and "Imaginary Enemy". Both show Circa Survive burning their potential and their progress with rehashed pop melodies, rarely delivering a solid hook. However, despite these flaws, Blue Sky Noise isn’t actually that bad.

Case in point: "Through the Desert Alone" shows Circa Survive striking a new chord. Here, subtlety is key. Though the song is comprised of progressive wankery and pop sensibilities, the composition allows for textural nuances and an evocative whole. Speaking of evocative wholes, Circa Survive has finally mastered the art of introspect and minimized pretense. What else, they finally exemplified their originality and omitted impotence. This combination is best shown on one of the album’s highlights, "Frozen Creek". Here, another guitar solo bridges chorus and verse, and the musicianship is adept. The combination sums up the positive aspects of the album: poppy choruses, exciting structures, and spry character. However, there are still pretentious, cheesy moments throughout, and at times, Blue Sky Noise seems like just a run-of-the-mill pop-punk record without bark or bite. Those who desire a release with a surprising amount of innovation or depth will find this album lacking; those who desire a fun release with a few progressive tendencies to boot will rejoice.



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user ratings (1639)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheWayfarerElectric
April 17th 2010


154 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think we all know of the legal leak but here:
myspace.com/circasurvive

TheWayfarerElectric
April 17th 2010


154 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh, and I'm trying to get back in the reviewing groove, please assist via criticism.

Plutonio
April 17th 2010


474 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Long review is long and good.

EmptyWithoutYou
April 17th 2010


100 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Good review, much more in tune with my thoughts.

Rationalist
April 17th 2010


880 Comments


Frozen Creek is duh shit

HugCrewLoveRoll
April 17th 2010


612 Comments


very well-written, but it reads more like a 2-2.5 than a 3.

tombits
April 17th 2010


3471 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm sick of reading the same introduction for every Circa Survive review. We know about Saosin and we know about their breakup, so including it is redundant and boring.

EmptyWithoutYou
April 17th 2010


100 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

and btw On Letting Go is the SHIT!

tombits
April 17th 2010


3471 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

But otherwise it's a great review, and I agree with you for the most part.

Except that Frozen Creek's chorus isn't as poppy as it is epic, which is where its main appeal lies.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
April 17th 2010


7026 Comments


Great review, I agree with most of your points.

lechium3
April 17th 2010


95 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yea i agree with this review. alot songs on this album seem really 'cheesy' to me.

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
April 17th 2010


7133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Either you were trying to sound really smart or you're just really smart. It's probably the latter
so that's not meant in a bad way.

I disagree with the review somewhat but it was definitely a really solid review.

One thing I've always had a problem with though, and I'm not trying to claim you don't have a point
here because maybe I'm just missing it. I simply want to toss this out there- I've never understood
this complaint:

"Green’s voice still alternates between an angst-ridden croon and a honey-sweet tone"

I'm pretty sure Green's regular singing voice is that honey-sweet tone, and he sings a standard
variety of ranges within that sound, as any singer would their normal voice. Then he also has his
angst-ridden croon he uses at moments of heightened intensity. What exactly is the problem with
this? Should he have more styles of singing? What style is it that he should be going for? I feel
like by stating that he has two ways of singing it sounds like he's leaving out a majority of
styles, but I just don't think that's the case. Maybe I'm just not knowledgeable enough on the
subject, but I think maybe his "angst-ridden croon" and "honey-sweet tone" are misinterpreted by
some as being a sound he is attempting to emulate, when they are actually just his normal ways of
vocalizing, and so listeners might wonder why he doesn't just sing normally when that's what he's
doing the whole time.

I might have totally missed the mark here but that's alright. Definitely good review though.

Inveigh
April 17th 2010


25025 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I've never listened to Saosin or Circa Survive before this album.. and I'm only one track in. but it begs the question: is Anthony a girl's name? bc there's no way you're telling me this vocalist is a dude.

Inveigh
April 17th 2010


25025 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

vocals have already gotten a little better haha, but that first track was baaaaaad (vocally). Music's awesome though.

AtavanHalen
April 17th 2010


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Anthony Green is more of a man than you'll ever be and more of a woman than you'll ever get with.

Inveigh
April 17th 2010


25025 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hah

Rationalist
April 17th 2010


880 Comments


And that angst-ridden croon is where his vocals go either too high or too low and sound contrived/ adenoidal. These vocals sound real "I'm thirteen watch me break up with a girl"-ish.

TheWayfarerElectric
April 17th 2010


154 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks for the praise/criticism.

hando
April 17th 2010


161 Comments


this is starting to rule so much

bobafe6604
April 17th 2010


66 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Anthony Green is the next John Lennon



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