Circa Survive
Violent Waves


3.5
great

Review

by Sam Cowen USER (17 Reviews)
August 22nd, 2012 | 36 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It's a slow burner, but don't let that put you off...

Circa Survive had a hard prospect when writing the follow-up to Blue Sky Noise. This was an album that got them more radio plays, magazine articles and exposure than ever before. They had two choices, carry on with the direction forged by Blue Sky Noise, almost certainly the more financially rewarding choice, or head in a different direction altogether. With the release of Violent Waves, it is clear they chose the latter.

As the epic, seven minute, opener 'Birth Of The Economic Hitman' begins, it is apparent that this is a less immediate record. Instead of starting with a bang, this record builds upon repeated listens. The opener is an impressive song, indicative of the whole album, and appears to act as a lyrical explanation for the release, as Green croons "Maybe we have to leave, forget everything we learned about where we came from to find out where we need to go." It's clear from this, they were no longer happy on their label, and decided to do what so many other acts are doing, and strike out on their own.

One of the album highlights is Sharp Practice. This song is very reminiscent of 'Strange Terrain' from Blue Sky Noise, but as if it was filtered through their debut album, Juturna. Suitcase, the first song released from the album, is a slower, more laid-back affair, the kind that has made numerous appearances on Circa records before. Phantasmagoria, meanwhile, is catchy song featuring great verses, that is probably one of the most instantly impacting songs on the record.

As expected, Green is on fire vocally, going from smooth, to harsh and raspy effortlessly, and the musicians beside him create beautiful sounding musical landscapes that reflect the spacey album art. The lyrics are good, although nothing special, and still have that veiled quality that always runs through Circa Survive's lyrics.

Despite this, the album does have a flaw. Many songs drag on, and need repeated listens to make any real lasting impact. This is likely due to this being a self-released record, allowing them full reign over the album, as opposed to Blue Sky Noise, which was released on Atlantic. The experimentation on show is promising, for sure, but the lack of impacting songs harms the album as a cohesive unit. The last half of the album is all material that will take time to digest, and including a song that is more instant within that section could have served to break up the record nicely.

It might take a while to sink in, but it is worth it. Blue Sky Noise hit you straight out of the gates, demanding your attention. Violent Waves, however, will take more than that. This is an album more suitable to a late night drive than a summer's day stroll. This is not a record that will gain them new fans. It's a record bound to be divisive, but those who stick with it will be justly rewarded.



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user ratings (587)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
truekebabpower
August 22nd 2012


639 Comments


that was fast...

Dolving999
August 22nd 2012


1647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice one. I totally agree this takes time to dig in, many people will get intimidated by the length of the first track.

oltnabrick
August 22nd 2012


31276 Comments


kool.

Digging: Michael Pisaro - Continuum Unbound

IfYouRun
August 22nd 2012


294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is one of them albums people need to WANT to get into it seems.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
August 22nd 2012


20063 Comments


Good review, pos.

One thing tho...

This song is very reminiscent of 'Strange Terrain' from Blue Sky Noise, but if it was filtered through their debut album, Juturna.

Do you mean it sounds as if it was filtered through their debut album?
Or it's as if it was filtered?
Agreed though, sharp practice is a definite highlight.

Digging: Trophy Eyes - Mend, Move On

IfYouRun
August 22nd 2012


294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah I'll try re-do that sentance in a bit. I meant that it sounds like, if Strange Terrain was made during Juturna, this would be the song that emerged.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
August 22nd 2012


20063 Comments


Yeah man I get what you were trying to say. If you just say "but it's as if" instead of "but if it" it sounds better : )

cirq
August 22nd 2012


9265 Comments


Kinda fell outta love with these guys...downloading now

mindleviticus
August 22nd 2012


8325 Comments


I like this a lot more than you do

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
August 22nd 2012


20063 Comments


Now I'd add "sounds" after but on the sentence you fixed. Lol sorry maybe it was fine how it was.

DestroyHim
August 22nd 2012


173 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I am disappointed in this release

wacknizzle
August 22nd 2012


13602 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Good review, but I think this album has way more standouts than you give it credit for. The only tracks I have beef with are Bird Sounds and Blood From a Stone because they sound kind of similar at parts. Think of Me When They Sound and Brother Song are so good, my current favorites.

Digging: Redwood Hill - Collider

TenSecondsToThink
August 22nd 2012


1245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The album seems too long to me. It's a grower though, maybe it will be a 4 soon. Definitely very
similar to On Letting Go in some way.

wacknizzle
August 22nd 2012


13602 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It is a grower for sure, I've listened to it a good amount of times and I still haven't fully digested it. But yeah I like it alot more than I did at first.

Calc
August 22nd 2012


12295 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Phantasmagoria is like the catchiest song they've ever written. My experience is exactly the same as wack's

Digging: Mr. Oizo - The Church

Xenophanes
Emeritus
August 22nd 2012


10618 Comments


The Economist was an episode on Lost that first detailed Sayid's new job as a hitman. Crazy coincidence.

taxidermist
August 22nd 2012


7212 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I want to review this, but it will just be overshadowed by Xenophanes' masterful reviewing skills ;_;

Digging: Whirr/Nothing - Split

Xenophanes
Emeritus
August 22nd 2012


10618 Comments


We obviously have different opinions so I would really love to read a review from you. Go for it, bud.

ThePac
August 22nd 2012


219 Comments


looking at that overall user rating makes me happy, cannot fucking wait to get this

Taxt
August 22nd 2012


675 Comments


Not bad, not great.
Needs more listens I think.



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