(feat track – “Get Out”)
It was a bit of a surprise looking back through my posts and realizing I hadn’t written about Circa Survive here at all this year. I did review both their just-released Appendage EP and their Daytrotter Session for PoZ, but neither of those was exactly a rave. If you follow me around the intarwebs, you might have gotten the impression that I’m not a big Circa Survive fan. But Blue Sky Noise has been in heavy rotation for me ever since its release this past April, and I saw them play two absolutely incredible shows over the last year.
Circa Survive were always one of those bands I appreciated more than enjoyed. There was no doubt they were incredibly talented musicians with a dynamic, exciting singer whose voice soared, but I always had trouble sitting and listening to them, and when I did it tended to be more as background music. A pleasant enough experience, but in one ear, out the other. That all changed on Blue Sky Noise.
Blue Sky Noise is Circa Survive’s first major label release (Atlantic Records, following two CDs on indie Equal Vision), and like most bands making the jump, Circa did a little tinkering to their sound. They tightened the reins a little, moving towards more conventional song structures, strong, defined verses and choruses and hooks. The results could not have been any more spectacular; Blue Sky Noise is full of songs that burrow into your skull while fully retaining the band’s prior inventiveness, wild creativity and verve. In a lot of ways it reminds me of the transformation Gatsby’s American Dream underwent between their Ribbons And Sugar and Volcano albums. (It’s no coincidence that Volcano is also a personal favorite of mine; it came in at #2 on my Top Ten Of 2005 list).
That’s what made all the difference for me. Between all the crazy guitar harmonics and delay loops, tricky rhythms, and Anthony Green’s vocal acrobatics are some truly great songs – “Strange Terrain,” “I Felt Free,” “Imaginary Enemy,” “Spirit Of The Stairwell” – the sort that you catch yourself whistling during your brain’s idle moments. The last pieces of the Circa Survive puzzle have fallen into place for me, and I finally see the big picture it all its splendor.