Saturday, November 27, 2010

Album Review: Circa Survive - Appendage EP

Most people get happy to see one release in a year by one of their favorite bands. Circa Survive wasn't content with that in 2010. Along with one of the best releases of the year, Blue Sky Noise, Circa Survive came around with round two with the Appendage EP. Although only an extension of Blue Sky Noise with five B-sides not released on the album, it's almost like the tracks could have been on the album. In fact, the album may even have been better with these tracks on it.

Circa uses these b-sides to practice with a few techniques that may have been too risky to put on the album. "Sleep Underground" uses a jingling organ in order to bring the cave-like feeling of being underground. Anthony Green's soaring vocals accompany the organ on making a song tagged as a demo larger than life. If this track is only a demo, then the mastered version must be angelic. "Stare Like You'll Stay" is the part two of Blue Sky Noise's "Dyed In The Wool" except slightly lighter and with a much catchier chorus. Green's falsetto is at its strongest as the focal point of the song next to one fluttering guitar and one driving guitar to create a unique sound. "Every Way" is the one track that many listeners had heard before the announcement of the EP, being that a live acoustic version of it was on the bonus track edition of Blue Sky Noise. The previous version was a throw away, but the new version is much stronger vocally due to the studio along with the electric instrumentation rather than a simple acoustic guitar. "Backmask" is the longest single song Circa has even written, and is also one of their more instrumentally sophisticated songs. The drumming is some of the best that has been on a Circa track, with many complex rhythms and the guitars create an atmospheric feel throughout the entire track. "Lazarus" is a boring track (in Circa standards) up until the climax, which turns into one of the strongest points of the album. The song time changes into 3/4 and then the band releases possibly their biggest rage of energy they have ever done. The guitars blaze in the background while Green screams his lungs out next to the pounding drumbeats. The energy and emotion keeps building up as the song gets heavier and heavier before the final fade out.

Anthony Green almost has to be considered one of the best frontmen of recent times. His stage presence and energy are top notch live while his live vocals are still superb. He and his band pumped out twenty or so songs this year, even as Green recently became a father. The band's material continues to improve, and Circa seems to have no end in sight. 2010, meet Circa Survive, your band of the year.

01. Sleep Underground (Demo)
02. Stare Like You'll Stay
03. Everyway
04. Backmask
05. Lazarus


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