Circa Survive are a band that are difficult to pigeon-hole into a genre. Taking elements from post-hardcore, progressive rock, emo, and even math rock throughout their illustrious career, they’ve created a unique sound that is all their own.
The Pennsylvania five-piece have been busy this year touring with Thrice over in the US, and have now returned with new full-length, ‘The Amulet’, and it’s every bit as intriguing and ambitious as their previous efforts, if not more so.
The album opens with the brilliantly titled ‘Lustration’, which couldn’t be a better introduction; swift drum beats from Steve Clifford and beautifully textured guitars from both Brendan Ekstrom and Colin Frangicetto. The lyrics are trademark Circa fare, littered with clever imagery and religious references. “I don’t want to be the anchor on your chest, unkept”, bawls vocalist Anthony Green, “Tongues will freeze and break apart / My god who’s left to concede the cross”.
The band start to gain more momentum on ‘Premonition Of The Hex’, with its compelling, melodic hook, before slowing down slightly on the melancholic ‘At Night It Gets Worse’. Fans will be pleased to note that this isn’t a huge departure from what we’ve come to expect from the band. Their intricate, twinkly guitars are as prominent as ever, and Green‘s distinctive, androgynous wail features throughout.
Later on, things get a bit grittier on ‘Stay’, with its pounding guitar riff, while a fuzzy, distorted bass line from Nick Beard takes center stage on ‘Rites Of Investiture’. No two tracks on this album sound the same, which results in a slightly jerky feel at times, but it’s all melded together with the stunning instrumental synergy and atmospherics that have become characteristic of this band.
‘The Amulet’ is a solid, impeccably produced, and innovative record. It could prove difficult listening for some, and new fans may be better off being introduced with one of their more sonically cohesive albums, but for those already existing, Circa Survive have well and truly delivered.
Written by Lottie Cook (@pixelottie)