Review Summary: The birth of new ideas.
To start off allow me to share a brief, opinionated history about one of my personal favorite bands, Circa Survive
. For the most part "Juturna"
was thouroughly enjoyable and certainly an exceptional first release for the band. "On Letting Go"
proved to me an album better constructed than Juturna, improving (although not drastically changing) upon the first albums looser ends. Complex and intriguing "On Letting Go" found its place among my most adored albums. However just because I was quite fond of the bands first two releases (conceivably more than most) that's not to say I was simply going to accept with open arms their latest release, "Blue Sky Noise"
. In fact due to my more than positive outlook towards their first two albums I was in fact more inclined to dislike
the album altogether. I also thought that the cover was silly and overdone. Yet as time would have it the album found its way into my hands and into my stereo. A few weeks has passed since then and in that time I have grown quite familiar with Circa Survive's third release, Blue Sky Noise.
Quite simply I didn't like it, at first anyway. Not having listenened to the band for some time I felt that Anthony Green's voice had grown rather annoying. Particularly annoying was his voice during the first line of the first song, "Strange Terrain"
in which he sings, "We read the signs completely backwards"
. Also reflecting that annoyance was the first line of the second song, "Get Out"
when he sings, "Yesterday, should have spent my time a little wiser!"
. Now of course this could all be just in my my head but my head told me that I found those lines irritating when executed by Green. Now it was very important for me to note those two rather minute issues as after that I found little else to complain about while listening to Blue Sky Noise.
And in fact as I grew accustomed to the slight alterations in Green's voice it became clear that "Strange Terrain"
was an overall exceptional opener. The entrancing choir chants that follow the line, "Where've all the signs gone?"
must be credited in making the song so pleasantly mesmerizing. However what truly makes the song so near perfect is the captivating chorus/verse in the form of -
"Who's the one pounding the gears, avoiding the crowds
keeping their ear to the ground?
Oh I've made a mistake, I never learned how to get back to the place
where all our confidence kept us behind a sheild, only light could get through."
So as the first song binds your imagination with engrossing lyrics the next song "Get Out"
aims to speed things up a bit. Most noticably with the second track is the slick guitar work. Don't expect anything quite as compact as Circa's first two albums. The guitar winds loosely, ascending in more carefully thought out (and more attractive) patterns. This looser more direct style of play works well in all areas of the band, the stylistic change fitting like a glove. "I Felt Free"
perfectly show cases the band within their newfound looser style. That's not to say the band have become any less intrinsic, quite the opposite. The moody opening of "Through The Desert Alone"
seems more collectively complex than anything the band have ever fabricated before. As a piano delicately swirls along the background of the song the bass grumbles most boldy against the quieter portions of the songs. The drums continuously add more subtle flare to the track by keeping a calm, although oddly timed patterns to convey the track in sequence. And of course the ever interesting guitar glitters within a thoughtfully woven sequence near the mid portion of the song. Yet even as each band member has excelled leaps instrumentally it is Green's ever beautiful choruses that create passion in such high doses.
The second half of the album only makes Green's importance more apparent. "Frozen Creek"
is one of the more heavily vocal centric tracks allowing Green to prove his vocal preformance nothing short of divine. "Spirit Of The Stairwell"
shows to be one of the softer more balanced songs, maintaining a realitively smooth pace throughout. A angelically played piano provides an underbelly below the more standard swishing of persistent acoustic fare. A pillow of decending guitar chimes match evenly the downcast mood Green's masterful vocal outing portrays. The purely instrumental "Compendium"
proceeds in a vast array of light sprinkles. Soon the drums sweep in transitioning beside a hungry bass profoundly hammering at clever times. From there the track seems to ascend inside the clashing of spasmodic noise and then seamlessly evolving into the last track, "Dyed In The Wool"
. The final track encased in silk soft instrumentalism, swooning chants and crystal clear vocals. While not quite an extraordinary ending everything seems to fit nicely together, much like the rest of the album.
In the end embracing Blue Sky Noise has become an easy pleasure. While Circa Survive have surley changed I believe this to be innocuous, an evolution of sincere intent. Circa Survive have succeeded by fragmenting their prior density into much more relative pieces. The lyrics themselves, now less muddled, invoke verisimilitude in place of past obscurity. Circa Survive have again crafted a vibrant story of colorful context. This time however the story could have been written for you.
"Through The Desert Alone"
"Spirit Of The Stairwell"