It’s been two years since we last heard from them, and now Circa Survive not only have a new record label (Atlantic), new producer (David Bottril, who’s worked with Muse and Tool), but a new album. Blue Sky Noise came out earlier this month, and some longtime fans were unnerved by the move to a major record label. However, diehard fans need not flip the off switch just yet. While a good deal of independent artists evolve in the wrong direction on the move to a major, Circa Survive has managed to stay true to their roots while simultaneously expanding and branching out.
Following three years after 2007’s On Letting Go, the album sees the band move away from some of the atmospherics that previously defined them. Originally built on the back of leader Anthony Green’s soaring and haunting vocals on top of layered, intricate guitar lines, Circa Survive sees the band working with lower keys, synthesizers, and a newfound rock ‘n roll edge. Lead single “Get Out” is an example of their new sound – traditional but somewhat edgier rock, inspiring perhaps both air guitar and simultaneous head-banging. “Imaginary Enemy” sees Green’s vocals cohesively glide together with Colin Frangicetto’s and Brendan Ekstrom’s guitars to create a tune of seemingly vulnerability. Centerpiece ballad “I Felt Free” evokes both nostalgia and goose bumps, as Green’s vocals coincide with propulsive guitars and pulsing piano-work.
The entire album seems to pulse with a decided new upbeat polish. This could be due to the fact that it was almost entirely a collaborative effort. Frangicetto contributed lyrics and melodies to both “Imaginary Enemy” and “I Felt Free,” Elkstrom collaborated with Green on “Frozen Creek,” a soft-spoken ballad with intriguing acoustic interplay between the guitarists, and “Get Out.” Bassist Nick Beard and drummer Steve Clifford complete the lineup by providing a solid rhythmic backbone.
Album closer “Dyed in the Wool” is a whimsical delight, with Green’s dramatic crooning, “I know nothing is gonna change that hopeless feeling I get, when you say you’ll understand but I know you can’t.” You may find yourself wistfully longing for the album to continue on. While each melody stands alone, they seem to blend together like related chapters in a book of sonorous healing. Green himself said on the band’s official website that, “It’s all in the album. And it’s all in the other albums. It’s a bunch of unsaid stuff that I haven’t recorded yet. Every album is a chapter and a step toward the truth. And you’re never going to get there, you just have to keep going and going.” It is very clear this album is a step towards Circa Survive’s ultimate truth and a step further on their road to self discovery as a band. Regardless of what side of the fence fans are on about the move, this is without a doubt an amazing piece of work. Blue Sky Noise is more than just noise; it’s a band finding its voice and expressing it loud and clear. It will be interesting for fans both old and new to see where they go next.
For your listen and information on where to pick up Blue Sky Noise, head to the Circa Survive’s official website at www.circasurvive.com.