Review Summary: Anthony Green as he's meant to be experienced.
Anthony Green has had a long and fruitful career. He first established himself as the love-him-or-hate-him vocalist of post-hardcore band Saosin before leaving to front the more experimental Circa Survive. Lately, however, he’s been taking time off Circa to focus on his solo work. 2008’s Avalon
was his first solo album and it had him assuming the role of singer-songwriter. Instead of his vocals battling with the progressive rock of Circa Survive, Green was front and center with his acoustic guitar. Surprisingly, it worked quite well. The simple acoustic indie pop sound was incredibly charming and a perfect showcase for Green’s voice.
Then, earlier this year, he released his follow-up. Unlike, Avalon
, which was mostly unadorned, Beautiful Things
sought to have every single song explore a different genre. While some of these experiments worked out, some did not and overall the album had a disjointed feel, switching back and forth between simple folk pop and forays into country rock, post-hardcore, and electro-dub. This wasn’t terrible; Green’s skill as a songwriter ensured that every track was catchy and easy to sing along with, but even that couldn’t mask the fact that it simply felt jarring at times. It sounded like a random sampling from a radio station in an alternate universe where Anthony Green is the only singer around and not in a good way.
On this free live EP, Beautiful Spring
, the disparity has vanished. Beautiful Spring
uses the album tracks as launching pads for improvisational jams that will have you tapping your foot and bobbing your head throughout. It is on Beautiful Spring
that his backing band (the members of Good Old War) truly gets a chance to shine. There are plenty of instrumental breaks and guitar solos abound. There’s even room for a drum solo on opening track “Get Yours While You Can”, which is stretched from its album length of about three minutes to over five on Beautiful Spring
and features what sounds like an entirely new track, complete with new lyrics, smuggled into the end.
It’s clear to see that this is the way Green’s music is meant to be experienced; the album tracks are mere skeletons when compared to their live versions. While many performers lose something when translating their music from the studio to the stage, Green only gains strength. Even his voice, which I’ll admit I’ve often attributed to studio trickery, sounds more confident on stage as he breaks into screams and switches up lyrics. Overall, the EP is a good representation of Green’s music and a much more coherent work than his previous full-length. If this EP proves anything, it’s that Anthony Green should seriously consider recording his next album live.
Last but not least, the album features one bonus track at the end, a recording of Anthony singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
with his toddler son, James Green. I have only one thing to say about this. If you were not struck by how adorable that track is, you must be the most miserable person on Earth.