Review Summary: There must be a way to understand the things you do, without getting too close to you.
When it comes to the strengths and weaknesses of Circa Survive, and the glue that holds them together, many would easily point the finger at front man Anthony Green. Since their inception, Circa Survive have garnered massive amounts of hype and critical acclaim because of Green's over the top vocal ability. Many would consider Green himself to be the X-factor in the band, but Circa Survive would never work if it was a one man show. Green has always needed Circa Survive backing him in order to bring out the best of his vocal ability and have him truly shine. Aside from Green's amazing vocals, the band themselves always worked together cohesively to put together some of the most infectious melodies that, from start to finish, challenge the listener to listen again and again, patiently, while absorbing everything over time until it all clicks and you, the listener, are treated with music that can be described as breathtaking.
is no different. From the start, Circa follow the tradition of having a very strong opener, and the listener is welcomed with the seven minute epic, Birth of the Economic Hit man
. Quite different from the sound Circa Survive crafted in their third LP, [/i]Blue Sky Noise (2010), Circa return with their more experimental/atmospheric elements found in their earlier work, Juturna
(2005) and On Letting Go
(2007). The magic between the band is still there and the fan favorite Anthony Green screams found in Blue Sky Noise
return in the peak of the chorus with Green exclaiming at the top of his lungs, "NOTHING IS SACRED
." Shortly after the second chorus, the song takes a brief interlude that screams Juturna
and allows the old school fans to rejoice in its mind bending glory before returning to the chorus and ending.
Followed by the intro track is Sharp Practice
, a track that packs a walloping punch and is obviously taking shots at Atlantic, the record label that signed Circa Survive for BSN. Green yells "You get what you pay for. We can't sell our god damn souls anymore. Don't let them give you the run around again
!" One can only assume through the heartfelt lyrics that maybe, despite a stellar album, a major label wasn't the right home for the band, leading to the self release of Violent Waves
Traces of their old work are found throughout the album, which is a plus for any fan of their previous albums, but, like always, Circa manage to outdo themselves and shine with other beautiful tracks such as My Only Friend
, which starts with a dreamy guitar riff and at about a minute in, the song comes together beautifully with Green crooning, "...in hopes that you let him in
..." and later delivering some heartfelt lyrics such as "Have you been waiting so long? I know no one ever gets to control your love, so, why follow anyone
?" Another example of the heartfelt beauty shown throughout the album is with the epic track, Brother Song
. Starting with an ambient chord progression, the rest of the band follows suit and they all manage to carry the song beautifully as a collective, and Green harmonizing with them and in his heartfelt singing voice, getting out his message, "Oh, there must be a way to understand the things you say, without letting it get to me. Oh, I'm already used to being locked out of your life. And I won't share your anger! It doesn't do me any good to feel, and we can't say our feelings the right way
." The track then ends with a calming melody to close out the emotional chaos that was portrayed.
The only thing wrong with the album in my opinion is the closing track. Circa Survive have always been known to have a tremendous ender. House of Leaves
, All Your Friends Are Gone
, and Compendium
/Dyed in the Wool
. All have their own unique qualities and have managed to earn their place as fan favorites. Violent Waves'
closer, I'll Find A Way
, manages to be just ok. A good track nonetheless, but not exactly the explosive closer I, as a fan, have come to expect from the band. Once it does end, though, we are treated to the same calm ending that we heard in Brother Song
, which in a way I guess, satisfies me to a certain extent, since the whole album is a rollercoaster of Circa Survive's progression as a band to the present day.
succeeds in so many ways. Whether it be the return of their experimental elements, or the bits where Green manages to absolutely lose it in the studio on their edgier tracks (Sharp Practice
, The Lottery
). There's a little bit of everything in there for every Circa fan old and new. Violent Waves
is a look into the future of Circa Survive with it being their first self released LP an them being in creative control of everything. Violent Waves
clocks in at fifty-five minutes and is a challenging listen at first, but giving it it's deserved time/amount of listens, it will definitely win you over with its beautifully crafted atmosphere.