Review Summary: A tightly woven, thoroughly gripping experience that continues to reveal its depth with each successive listen.The Amulet
is the kind of release that’s capable of capturing a new audience. I would know, because this is my first legitimate experience with Circa Survive after years of sample-listening and vague intrigue that never culminated in a full, proper listen. There are plenty of reasons for that, and I’m entirely to blame, but there’s still something about this
album – perhaps its overwhelming maturity and beautiful cohesiveness – that seems to elevate the entire band to a new level worth investigating. As a new listener, it is admittedly impossible for me to make any sort of summative declaration about The Amulet
with regards to Circa Survive’s discography, but I can tell you this much: it’s a damn good record, and it’s well worth your time regardless of your previous familiarity with the band.
Swirling within the confines of these ten songs are some of the strongest alt-rock moments of the year. Passion emanates from every corner of this album, and there’s a nice blend of immediacy– like the screamed vocals ‘Never Tell a Soul’ culminates in – and more subtle layers that take a few listens to unravel, such as the delicate balance between the driving percussion and resplendent guitars that sprawl across the six minute run time of ‘At Night It Gets Worse.’ Throughout The Amulet
, a unifying ambiance is created from these intricate guitar/drum interlays, a strength that is only bolstered by the record’s pristine production and Anthony Green’s ever-fervent vocal/lyrical delivery. It’s the feat of a band rolling on all cylinders, delivering from every angle as they craft a layered experience that’s truly worth sinking your time and imagination into.
Despite the record’s remarkable consistency across the board, there are still two tracks that seem to rise above the rest. ‘Premonition of the Hex’ stands out as the first highlight, with an ominous and forlorn melody that sets a tone for The Amulet
's mysterious atmosphere. In what might be Green’s best performance on the album, he also offers a chilling omen: ”be careful of what you desire (the thorn in your paw), you can't predict what's coming.” The way the band follows through lyrically on the closer/title track ‘The Amulet’ represents yet another sign of maturity, as well as the record’s other
towering moment: a dire realization that brings the aforementioned premonition full circle. Scored by a heavy rock outro, Anthony Green desperately wails “you wanted it so bad, that you didn’t see how fucked it was.” There’s plenty of themes running throughout The Amulet
’s lyrical pages and enough ambiguity to afford listeners the opportunity to fill in the blanks – another distinct draw-in for a record that is already such an immersive listen. If ‘Premonition of the Hex’ sets the tone, then ‘The Amulet’ marks an incredibly fulfilling resolution; one that will likely make you want to spin the entire thing again from the beginning.
won’t necessarily bring instant gratification to all of its listeners, and it’s difficult to assess how it will be perceived by dedicated Circa followers. However, it is certainly one of the most well-composed alt-rock/post-hardcore albums of the year, and it seems to bring a newfound sense of maturity to both the songwriting and production aspects of the group’s sound. The end result is a tightly woven, thoroughly gripping experience that continues to reveal its depth with each successive listen. Whether or not that catches you off-guard most likely hinges on your level of experience with the band. For me, it’s one hell of a pleasant surprise.