Review Summary: I've been wondering 'round, makin' up movies in my headJuturna
edges up to our own universe but never quite settles into it: brief moments of friction with this reality, maybe, but nothing more. It's easy to focus on Anthony Green's helium-powered vocals or Steve Clifford's machine gun drumming, but every listen reveals a hidden lick of paint or subtle stitch of thread: the swirling guitar leading up to "Stop the Fuckin' Car"'s bridge; "Wish Resign" denying us a final rendition of that chorus
in favour of twenty monotone seconds of impenetrable guitar; "In Fear and Faith" hooking left halfway through into a massive new chorus, leaving its first half in the dust. "I've been trading ideas with intriguing men", Anthony humbly forewarns us on "The Great Golden Baby", and indeed Juturna
draws heavily from some incredible works of art, somehow synthesising influences as diverse as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
and Danielewksi's House of Leaves
. Eternal Sunshine
is the more obviously present – and god, if the beauty and the melancholy and the forgotten kindnesses and cruelties of Kaufman's masterpiece aren't all there when Anthony screams "didn't I, didn't I know you"" – but House of Leaves
is creeping under the surface the entire time, a drug-addled paranoiac second narrator who only makes his presence clear on the eponymous hidden track.
Like both its major influences (and quite unlike any other post-hardcore album I know), Juturna
stutter-steps and loops and disappears from focus, a prophecy collapsing on itself as it foresees itself. Minutes before it erupts into one of the best bridges of all time, "Stop the Fuckin' Car" gives us an unnervingly monotone Anthony mumbling "your face is light and cocaine white"
: by the next song this line somehow becomes a triumphant cry, the lovelorn narrator stealing diary entries from the feverish, insomniac one, creating choruses from torn pieces of unlined paper. The recurring memory motif is most obviously drawn out in the fist-pumping chorus of "Oh, Hello", but you're never quite ready for how brutally it sets up "Meet Me In Montauk"'s last line; a mic drop ending for the broken-hearted. You can almost taste the tension between the band Circa Survive would quickly become and that spectral other one always at arm's length: it's hard to imagine the new Circa having the stones to drop "House of Leaves" only after seven minutes of silence, or allowing "Meet Me in Montauk" with its brutal anti-climax to just hang in the air, or writing scattershot lyrics that they don't rush to clarify – calcium waste, glitter and falling like icicles
Earlier I said that Juturna
doesn't feel of this world. That's a truly honest description that stems from the ambiguous lyrics and intertextuality, combined with my personal years of half-awake listening. Like that hallway in House of Leaves
, this album is apart, hard to touch, almost opaque; even the moments when it bangs – and make no mistake, friends, this thing can fucking bang – feel detached, cribbed from some barely remembered childhood idea. The clear-eyed narrator becomes the other, darker one in the final moments of "Meet Me in Montauk"; he sings the final lines, a guitar clatters to the floor, a haze descends on him as he settles back in his chair and forgets what he'd been trying to tell us all this time. The tape seems to glitch, as if even it is struggling to reconcile that we've been hearing the same voice the whole way through. After all this time and against all logic, I'm not entirely sure my own voice isn't somewhere in this album too, captured in a moment of near-sleep, rambling around in between the metaphors and literature references and Anthony Greenisms. Maybe yours is, too. Only one sure way to find out.