Circa Survive - Blue Sky Noise (Cover Artwork)

Circa Survive

Circa Survive: Blue Sky NoiseBlue Sky Noise (2010)

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
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Any concerns Circa Survive have bowed to the major-label machine and produced an overtly glossy, pandering record in their big league debut are washed away with Blue Sky Noise, their first record for Atlantic, and a completely logical and enjoyable progression at that from their time on indie Equal .
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Any concerns Circa Survive have bowed to the major-label machine and produced an overtly glossy, pandering record in their big league debut are washed away with Blue Sky Noise, their first record for Atlantic, and a completely logical and enjoyable progression at that from their time on indie Equal Vision.

Frontman Anthony Green's ethereal voice continues to permeate swirling walls of guitar-driven sound, with choruses pounding through without exerting so much effort it sounds forced. Even in Blue Sky Noise's single-ready front half, the delivery is smooth and effervescent, with Green's voice loose and invigorated--this is where the band fully replicate their wild live performances. Voice and guitar-heavy lead single "Get Out" is immediate yet lasting, while "I Felt Free" is one of the album's most beautifully understated moments; despite the punctual simplicity of Green's words on the latter's chorus ("I fell apart in your arms for the last time / and I felt free / to do what I want, / because of the things you told me"), it's one of the most heartbreaking moments in the band's catalog. Its follower, "Imaginary Enemy," is a pure bundle of consistent kinetic energy.

If that warm, soaring melodic first half is prime for play on Alt Nation, then it's the second half where the band wield its colder and more careful intricacies. "Fever Dreams" is a sneering, heady adventure, with Green self-exploring mistakes ("Either way I'm going to hell") while guitarists Colin Frangicetto and Brendan Ekstrom surround him with an array of clipped riffs, pedal-induced psychosis and furious acoustic strumming. The introductorily twangy "Spirit of the Stairwell" is acoustic-driven all through, but its soundscape is magnificently opulent (sharp piano clinks; subtle post-rock guitar sprawls; light female vocal dalliances), while Green's froggy delivery reverberates off its foundation. Penultimate track "Compendium" is merely an instrumental interlude, but it works.

If earlier records found the band inhabiting some sort of space that could be vaguely categorized as dreamy post-hardcore, then Blue Sky Noise is where they tip the scales between atmospheric brands of alternative and indie rock. But the change doesn't feel all that far-fetched, or even that palpable. Granted, the band have gotten even better at masking their influences; while 2005's Juturna often sounded like the logical extension of the direction This Day Forward--two members' former band--was taking, and the spacey guitar tones on 2007's On Letting Go reeked of an influence from Cave In's Antenna, Circa have forged an even more unique identity this time around.

Producer David Bottrill made a name over the past three decades producing and engineering records for the likes of Peter Gabriel, King Crimson and Tool. Unless you count some mixing work on Coheed and Cambria's 2005 opus, Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness, it's only recently that he's begun to work with acts that larger music rags would likely classify as "emo." Mind you, between Moneen's 2009 effort, The World I Want to Leave Behind, and now Circa, it's the respectable lot, at least. But where Bottrill seemed to falter a little bit with that Moneen record, fracturing the band's potent energy in favor of an overly polished, glassy touch, here it complements Circa perfectly, with guitars steadily yearning and leaving a place for mixer Rich Costey (Brand New, Mastodon, Muse) to push Green's strengths to the forefront of the mix without drowning out the rest of his band.

Despite a new home and producer, Circa Survive is by and large the same band on Blue Sky Noise, and it's as strong as one as they've ever been.

Get Out
Glass Arrows
Imaginary Enemy


People who liked this also liked:
The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyCirca Survive - On Letting GoThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThe Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsJoyce Manor - Joyce ManorThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Against Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldBrand New - The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
HeresLookinAtYou (August 22, 2010)

Solid review, great album. One of my favorites this year so far.

whatchokesbegin (August 22, 2010)

No album art is any more or less pretentious than any other album art. That doesn't make any sense. I think it's also time to come to terms with the fact people on this site are collectively never going to like this band. Despite his superhuman range, people can't seem to get past Anthony Green's voice for some reason, although I can't stand Claudio Sanchez myself, so I guess I can sympathize. Circa Survive is one of my favorite bands, but it's just not punk enough for the audience. Though, how anyone can think Coheed and Cambria is better than this, I'll never understand.

TSOL (August 22, 2010)

Is there a meaning to this artwork, or is it just random pretentiousness? Looks to me like some combination of a leech and a deer is about to eat that guy. And then there are random coloured ribbons coming out of it.

quickattack (August 22, 2010)

Not a huge fan of the artwork.... or the band.

imageryandsound (August 21, 2010)

this is a good album- and definitely a grower so don't write it off too quick! i really enjoy the 2nd half more than the first, especially like, frozen creek and that last track Dyed in the wool- great material

overdefined (August 21, 2010)

Not feeling this one at all. The first song or two are good, but it really drops off after that.

Bryne (August 21, 2010)

I recognize the merit behind this band and I get why they're popular, but I just can't get into the guy's voice.

keithybobeefy (August 21, 2010)

It gets old to me rather quickly. I saw them open for Coheed and Cambria at the Electric Factory in Philly and they started strong but then it just got boring. There fans seemed to love it though. They just didn't win over a new one.

whatchokesbegin (August 20, 2010)

Definitely an improvement over On Letting Go, though I still like Juturna more.

TheRedDeath (August 20, 2010)

Same artist as in the past and I read something about him having limited time on this one, but I agree their past albums have had phenomenal artwork.
Album itself is just meh to me.

mikexdude (August 20, 2010)

One star for this artwork compared to their old stuff.

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