Release DetailsLABEL Equal Vision
RELEASED ON 4/19/2005
posted on 4/2005 By:
It's always nice when we get something different than the usual run-of-the-mill gargling death metal, poorly recorded black metal, and the latest Metal Blade signing of the metalcore moment. Not for our readers, perse, but for us, as reviewers. You may not think it, but reviewing most metal is one of the more tedious tasks I've encountered. Needless to say, although I'm not handing out a glowing review for Circa Survive, I'm enthusiastic to write about something that's devoid of breakdowns, and as of lately, mosh calls on CD.
Playing a grandiose brand of emo-tinged indie rock with progressive leanings, Circa Survive aren't your usual MTV2 clone act with generic sing alongs and nauseatingly memorable hooks. Featuring the sugary and high-pitched croons of ex-Saosin vocalist, working with a lingering and spacious sound, rife with guitar effects in what would probably be referred by most listeners as simply "dreamy". The easiest and most modern connection would be to imagine The Mars Volta if they were just some sort of local college town sensation, or a homogeneous version of later-era Cave-In with higher vocals and a loss of their slight grip on their former harder sound.
Irritatingly enough, once you've read the fourth track, there's little to compel you into listening to the rest of Juturna. It's nice, passive, and occasionally dreary - but Circa Survive suffer profoundly by their lack of variation and overwhelmingly similar vocal melodies. When you have someone with such a distinct voice featured so prominently on the recording, there's going to be high expectations - and reasonably so. It's dismaying that there's such a lack of intelligent direction for so many of these songs; your first impression is exactly what you're going to get through the entire track. "Oh, Hello" is truly the only number on the album that stands out with any sort of force and immediately grabs me. "Meet Me In Montauk" also has a distinct feel, but it's more due to the fact that it's just acoustic and singing, not that the songwriting is vastly different.
It's a shame that their debut is as average as it is. Very disheartening coming from members of This Day Forward and Taken, and completely frustrating as one listen to any of these songs and it's obvious how much talent resides in this band. There's no driving force - no motivation or incentive for the listener to continue onward. Sure, it's fantastic background music, and at the right time, I'm sure you could probably convince a girl to come within a foot of you with the band's infectious sentimentality. But in the end, it's nothing that earns too many repeated spins. Either way, I doubt many people on this site will ever hear this record, and those who do, will wonder why it was reviewed here.
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