Music aficionados nowadays seemingly equate Circa Survive's success with the fact that well, Anthony Green is in it, so in turn, his adenoidal croon must mark the work of an invaluable contemporary work. As evidenced by the events surrounding his most notorious anecdote (yes I'm referring to his split with Saosin, call me generic), Anthony Green's name will seemingly never go away; and it seems as though no matter how much detractors complain, his fan base grows larger and sturdier. Perhaps this is due to his many side-projects and his contributions to many genres (or more precisely, his contributions to many variants of two genres: indie and pop-punk); and if it is so, then good for him. He's discovered the merits of diversity. Unfortunately, nothing about Circa Survive's latest work is diverse, unless we choose to compare it to the band's former works, Juturna
and On Letting Go
Simply put, Circa Survive have completely abandoned their former “progressive” style in order to craft “innovative” pop. Now, why must the words “innovative” and “progressive” be used in such a sarcastic manner (henceforth the quotes if you were really that thick)? Well, it's because Circa Survive may have experienced a stylistic shift, but they continue to practice ignorance in what these two terms actually mean. Watching the band incorporate a completely inappropriate metal or tribal trait is like watching a six-year-old child run into an Economics class proclaiming that nickels hold more intrinsic value as currency simply because they're larger. Simply put, neither of these traits make music progressive, experimental, or avant-garde in the slightest. That fact becomes glaringly obvious when you realize what music is featured on Blue Sky Noise
In the simplest of terms, Circa Survive have rehashed the worst of the genre (we're talking bout The Audition bad) and combined it into utterly predictable, completely trite offerings to their scene-beloved heroes. It seems that Circa Survive's most unfortunate mantra has remained palpable when examining Blue Sky Noise
on even a cursory level. This mantra is simple: take from the popular contemporaries and then convert it into something more tedious than its original form. Not a single moment on this album can't be traced back to a superior source. Similarly, these aforementioned sonic textures which many will claim to be experimental (okay distortion has been used in music for long now? How long have people juxtaposed tawdry takes on world music with mainstream genres? How long has blah blah... been included?) aren't up-to-par with their contemporaries'. As well, when Circa Survive try to force out innovation, the result is an awkward juxtaposition of cheap, half-baked ideas (see: “Imaginary Enemy”). Melodic pop-punk riffs sit jump to random acoustics or world-friendly tunes before jumping back to their original state, and so on and so forth. Similarly, the album jumps between different phases of alternative rock (solos from 1994-era alternative are abound) without anything to tie them together. But if there was a redeeming factor, all this would be ignorable. However, Circa Survive aren't really decent at doing anything. They're not original, they're not technical, they're not catchy, they're not even memorable. As I mentioned earlier, the band's success is due to Anthony Green's involvement in a bunch of other half-assed projects. And until people get over Green's appeal, Circa Survive will undeservedly ride the hype-train to success. I'd like to think I'm just a cynic trapped in his delusions, but I can't understand how anyone could remotely enjoy anything on this album, if only for a second.