Review of Circa Survive’s Violent Waves
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 17:09
Violent Wavesis the fourth release by progressive rockers Circa Survive, and the first one they have released since dropping their label. The album was released on August 28.
At the time of release, the album was the No. 1 alternative album on iTunes and No. 3 overall, an impressive feat for a self-released album.
Violent Wavesis an interesting album in that it follows what many consider to be Circa Survive’s best album, Blue Sky Noise, an album that garnered the band more mainstream fame. Violent Waves does stand the test, though and could be considered their new best album.
This album can be seen as the culmination of the themes and signature sounds of the previous albums being polished and advanced to their next logical point. The album could also be seen as quintessential Circa Survive as that is the only real way you can describe their sound.
There’s also no filler on this release, which is good because it shows the band only wants quality content for their listeners. It’s a true album with songs meant to be played in order, it’s not like most modern albums which are frequently nothing more than a compilation of songs.
The album’s first two songs “Birth of the Economic Hitman” and “Sharp Practice” are absolutely energy filled. Anthony Green’s signature voice is as powerful as ever and the instrumentation is just as exquisite as you would expect from Circa Survive at this point.
You’ll have a hard time getting lyrics like “nothing is sacred” out of your head and for these songs, that is a good thing.
The third song off the album and the first single from it is “Suitcase.” This is a more relaxed song, which lets Green’s voice take the front seat while the melodies play in the background. While the instrumentation is still good, it’s more subdued in this song.
“The Lottery” marks a return to a more energetic and features guest vocals from Geoff Rickley of Thursday fame. This song is just plain intense and is just what you want to hear out of these guys.
“My Only Friend” is subdued and spacey and shows off the influences from their album, On Letting Go. The song is entrancing, relaxing and yet exciting at the same time. The bass drives this song while the guitar is relaxing and an odd airy sound plays in the background. The song is very experimental.
The next song, oddly named “Phantasmagoria,” is poppy, folky, and progressive. It is definitely the most unique song on the album. It’s also the most fun song on the album and could therefore appeal to a more mainstream audience.
“Think of Me When They Sound” is the one track on this album that may feel to keep your attention. The acoustic guitar is solid enough and the ambient sound in the background definitely shows their more experimental side, but if you have a low attention span this song won’t do anything for you. It is slower and doesn’t really build like most other soft Circa songs do. It’s not a bad song, but it is the only song on the album I would ever condone anyone skipping.
“Brother Song” is another slower song but it’s really good and builds up to a stronger chorus. The end of the song leads directly into Bird Sounds which is another powerful prog track on the album. “Bird Sounds” and “Blood from a Stone” seem to be cut from the same cloth and are really good penultimate tracks on the album.
“I’ll Find a Way” is probably one of the best album closers I have heard in a long time. The song builds up and slow-burns down to close out the album. The phrase “don’t give into wild currents, don’t believe in callous rituals” is beautifully delivered and the track is a great bookend to a great album.
Overall, this album deserves 9 out of 10 stars. It is another fantastic album in Circa Survive's library, and I recommend it both to people who are already fans and to anyone who is a fan of progressive or experimental music.
For more on Circa Survive you can visit Circasurvive.com. And for information regarding the albums current rankings on iTunes you can visit www.apple.com/euro/itunes/charts/top10albums.html