REVIEW: Circa Survive “Blue Sky Noise”

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Circa Survive

I should start out by acknowledging the fact that it’s probably inappropriate for me to review Circa Survive’s Blue Sky Noise. I’m undeniably biased when it comes to Circa Survive. Many moons ago Anthony was in a band called Audience of One and Colin was in a band call This Day Forward, both of which released a record on a label that I was associated with at the time. I constantly root for them both to succeed. Having said that, as good as their first two full lengths were, those songs just weren’t what I was looking for from these guys.

Anthony Green is a chameleon. His voice sounds completely different on each of the projects of which he’s been a part. So I really shouldn’t have been surprised that on the first two Circa Survive records he didn’t sound like the singer of Saosin, but that’s not what I wanted from him either. I wanted the Anthony Green who sang on the first Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer record to sing over heavier music. The first time I heard “Get Out” off of Blue Sky Noise, it was like the Circa Survive I heard in my head had finally become real.

Circa Survive have crafted an interesting sound for themselves ranging from spacey prog to driving punk inspired rock. Anthony Green never takes the easy road with his vocal and lyrical phrasing which offers many unexpected treats. The record hits it’s strongest moments when Anthony’s highest vocals give way to intense screams over top of dueling guitars and driving beats.

The production level of Blue Sky Noise blows away anything the band had released to date (as it should considering it’s their major label debut). It’s easy to imagine these songs getting some radio support. Highlights of the album include: “Get Out,” “Imaginary Enemy,” “Strange Terrain,” and “Frozen Creek.”

If there’s anything to complain about it’s that the record is long. I’ve rarely made it all the way through the final tracks of the album. This may have more to do with how enjoyable the first six or seven songs are than demonstrate a lack of quality in the last few tracks.

The deluxe version of Blue Sky Noise features a few bonus semi-acoustic/reimagined versions of songs off the album. It’s interesting how different they feel. These versions remind me of the mid-90s Layne Staley project Mad Season. Definitely worth a spin.