Review Summary: Anthony Green is THE beholder.
It isn't too terribly difficult to notice that Anthony Green's career thus far has essentially been the antithesis to that of former label-mate Jonny Craig. Though both are (generally) heralded as unique, show-stealing vocalists in their respective genres, Green has certainly handled his talents more appropriately. Where Craig fell ungracefully out of favor with bandmates in potential-laden Dance Gavin Dance, only then to flop desperately around the scene - first in trying to fan the flame of some far less impressive groups (including his own solo work) then in fronting a pathetically executed internet scam - Green made some much less juvenile moves. After leaving a promising young Saosin, the talented young Pennsylvanian founded Circa Survive back in 2004 and damn well ran with it, pumping out a triad of very well-received LP's over the next seven years, and doing so alongside side projects and solo work. Beautiful Things
is but the next well-placed manifestation of said solo efforts, effectively sating the palates of eager fans anticipating news of an additional Circa Survive release.
From the spaced-out guitar lines of Juturna
to most recent LP Blue Sky Noise
and its demonstration of Circa Survive really coming together as a band, Green's voice has stood confidently atop the efforts. Not surprisingly, his solo work maintains the same focus around his brazen pipes, with 2008's Avalon
offering listeners a chance to hear him alongside more bareback instrumentation. Beautiful Things
follows in the same vein, with Green's inimitable vocals soaring high above its more grounded slow-jam accessibility. Where Avalon
had a few real standout tracks, with 'Dear Child' presenting itself as one of Green's finest moments to date, Beautiful Things
remains more consistent throughout. And while nearly all of its songs are anchored in their frontman's undeniable talent, tracks 'If I Don't Sing' and 'Get Yours While You Can' make a point of showcasing his incredible vocal range.
If one critique can be made of Beautiful Things
, it would be its failure to take advantage of some key opportunities. With longtime friends and tour-mates in Philly-based Good Old War, Green's been witness to some of the most immediately lovable records in modern indie/folk. And with such talented musicians for friends, one can't help but think that a record like Beautiful Things
would be a perfect stomping grounds for the parties at present to really throw something incredible together between Green's vocals and G.O.W.'s inviting folk sentimentality. Tracks like 'Just to Feel Alive' and 'Blood Song' seem to be on the pretense of testing such waters, with casual and warm sing-songing laid atop a backtracks that could have come right out of Only Way to Be Alone
. It's this incredible potential and the fact that Green seemed to be fully aware of its existence, yet chose not to exercise it, that keeps Beautiful Things
from really leaving a footprint. Even so, it's tough for a listener not to become blissfully entrapped in the record; getting lost in Anthony Green's enchanting voice really is an effortless task.
If one final remark may be made regarding Mr. Green, it is to assure that he is a man of his word. Beautiful Things
lives up to its title - contained within the forty-one minutes are magical moments aplenty, presented to the audience via one of the most formidable frontmen in modern music. In a scene where boldface fonts and Macbook scams run amok, one would have to admit that such integrity is pretty damn refreshing.