I have a soft spot in my heart for Circa Survive. They have always seemed to have a knack for creating an original sound. Plus Anthony Green has one of the better voices in rock music right now. I have always dug his higher pitched almost child like voice paired with the psych tinged prog rock that the band brings. (Part of me has always wondered how awesome Saosin could have been though, had Green decided to stick with those guys. Their debut E.P. Translating the Name, will always be a favorite).
When Circa Survive released Juturna I was stoked. It was heavy experimental and Green’s vocals were the perfect interesting and original element to add to the mix. So my expectations for the band were set pretty high from the get go and I always thiought that with each new release the band would continue to get more progressive and “out there” (sort of how Thrice’s discography evolved), but unfortunately Circa Survive have for the most part stuck with the same blueprint they laid down on their first full length.That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy On Letting Go, I just was hoping for something a little bit heavier or spacier and it seemed as though it was more or less just Juturna 2.0. When Blue Sky Noise was released, it was a closer step in the right direction. The band employed a few more sounds, structures, and vibes, but it still wasn’t the stylistic break out I had been dreaming of.
Now Circa Survive has released their fourth full length Violent Waves and again it seems to be more of the same from the band. However, this time around I have accepted it, because it is what I have come to expect. But, to get a better perspective on why or why not someone chooses to explore new ground and being that the band has included a ship on the cover of Violent Waves, I got in touch with my Italian ancestor and Great, Great , Great , Great Grandfather Christopher Columbus (our relation has never been proven, but I know it deep down in my heart).
Me: Howdy Gramps! Listened to the new Circa Survive yet?
Grandpa Columbo: Why yes I have. I hear that band self released the album this time around.
Me: This is true. Pretty smart of them. I think that every band with a decent following should do this. Record labels are a thing of the past. Any thoughts on Violent Waves?
GC: Well the album is definitely solid and it has a great flow to it. I was thoroughly entertained throughout.
Me: Agreed, but aren’t you disappointed that they haven’t switched it up stylistically and explored some new vibes?
GC: No I’m not, because the band is good at what they do. When you find something you are good at, you should stick with it and refine and hone those skills. Kind of like myself, I was good at sailing and exploring, it’s not like I gave it up for a few months and tried to become a baker. I stuck with my expeditions because that’s what I did best. What did you want the band to do, become all crazy heavy and atmospheric like Isis?
Me: Yea that would’ve been cool.
GC: Nope it would have been weak. This is what the band does and as the albums have gone by the band has gotten better at sneaking in those experimental vibes without destroying their sound. I mean the album starts off and ends with seven minute plus jams. I’d say that’s pretty progressive.
Me: Alright, I guess you’re right. Any favorite songs from the album?
GC: Like I said the beginning song “Birth of the Economic Hit Man” and the closing track “I’ll Find a Way” are great. I also truly enjoy “Sharp Practice” and the slower jam “Think of Me When They Sound”. “Suitcase” is also good, I think Greene is singing about his kids on that one. Plus old Geoff Rickly from Thursday makes a cameo on “The Lottery”.
Me: You’re old and normally I would think that you are senile and demented, but you’re dead so I guess that doesn’t apply. After hearing you’re argument I’m going to have to give it another shot. Any new discoveries while exploring the heavens and space?
GC: Well, I am bit senile and demented I won’t argue with you on that, it’s kind of nice. It’s like being high all the time, I rather enjoy it. As far as new discoveries I just discovered this new alien named “Doug” he is far superior to what scientist think of as alien. He is fourth dimensional and lives on Venus and breaths Sulfur Dioxide and eats Nitrogen. He needs no water or carbon. He also likes to get drunk on fire. Extremely fascinating.
Me: Okay now I know you’v lost it… Want to get a gelato?
Well there it is. According to that old shabby Grandpa Columbo, Circa Survive are what they are and I need to accept them. I have since spent a lot of time listening to Violent Waves and I would say that I have to agree with gramps. The album is solid and Green’s vocals will always be a favorite of mine. Plus Circa Survive’s music is a lot more aggressive and entertaining then a lot of the other garbage out there.
Doug the Alien = http://fayfreethinkers.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=141&start=280
In Tune and On Time