Survival of the fittest: Circa Survive evolves and outlasts on its debut record

Circa Survive


Equal Visions

Three and a half out of four stars

Circa Survive embodies the timeless Hollywood ending. The band’s existence (and success) rested upon one fateful moment in an Arizona airport when frontman Anthony Green decided to turn his back on what was certain and secure, and instead follow his heart.

Circa is his heart.

Born from the ashes of Philly hardcore kids This Day Forward, emo-metal sweethearts Saosin and Orange County metalcore-heads Taken, Circa Survive’s line-up jettisoned their hardcore roots and quickly took up orbit around prog-rock’s intergalactic atmosphere.

As time has shown, though, one can take the kid out of hardcore, but one can’t take the hardcore out of the kid.

Romancing rock and roll with the ethereal dynamics of Radiohead, Circa Survive doesn’t fear the occasional Mars Volta-esque shut-up-and-kiss-me approach. It is in these shining moments where the band’s current stellar incarnation trade blows with its angst-ridden alter-egos that Circa’s debut, Juturna finds itself-half menacingly pissed, half gorgeously pious.

Anthony Green moved from Philly to Los Angeles to sing for the band Saosin. While Saosin was quickly climbing the ranks of the indie rock elite and on the brink of a major-label deal (which has since been solidified), Green was not happy.

The motives of his discontent remain shrouded in mystery, but after visiting home and casually writing music with old friend Colin Frangicetto of This Day Forward, Green decided to leave Saosin behind.

Returning home, Green and Frangicetto enlisted former This Day Forward guitarist Brendan Ekstrom, Taken bassist Nick Beard and new-jack Steve Clifford on drums.

With the line-up in place, Circa was born.

Not long after, on the wings of Equal Vision Records (Coheed & Cambria, Bane), Circa Survive conceived Juturna.

From the first electronic murmurs and robotic guitar effects of “Holding Someone’s Head Back” to the dying, delayed feedback of “Meet me in Montauk,” it is clear that this all-star team aims to chart the furthest reaches of the indie-rock galaxy.

“Stop the F*****’ Car” tears itself between controlled rock and roll and spasmodic prog-frenzy, but stitches the two with Green’s very-Jeremy Enigk falsettos and hooks predestined to endure the ages.

Green’s sing-a-long-inciting skills are put to test in the Failure-like dynamics of “In Fear and Faith” and the At The Drive-In effects-work of “We’re All Thieves,” but always pass with flying colors.

Even more powerful than Green’s hooks are the deep-seeded poetics that grace Juturna’s catalog of deep-space anthems. The most poignant being his assumed explanation to former outfit Saosin as he croons, “It’s not about the press photos, it’s about the talent.”

Clearly, Circa Survive is about the talent.

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