Circa Survive - Appendage EP

Album cover
Circa Survive
Appendage EP
Circa Survive - Appendage EP Review rating:
4
User rating:
Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

Blue Sky Noise was one of the more polarizing of this past year, not because of the tracks it contained, but due to the literal split of Circa Survive’s fanbase in part from the progression of the band to a seemingly more accessible and less progressive sound. But with the release of Appendage, there is a feeling of coming full circle with Circa Survive’s approach on Blue Sky Noise, making its predecessor even better in hindsight. Appendage is more than just a bunch of b-sides and a demo. It is more than just a companion to the major-label debut of Anthony Green and company. Appendage does enough to prove its worth not only as a stand alone EP, but also as another great release in this band’s discography.

A demo of “Sleep Underground” opens the EP with a sense of wonder and tension. Green’s cooing vocals gently top over the eerie, yet uplifting organs humming in the background. While just as good as the version we’ve heard already, it does a fantastic job of setting the correct mood for a Circa Survive release. We then move into “Stare Like You’ll Stay”, a song ripe with the familiar staples of this band - noodling guitars melodies, breathtaking vocals and sharp drumming - that is made stronger with the band’s attention to detail when it comes to adopting straightforward songwriting. You can gripe all you want that Circa is abandoning their sound, but you need not delve deep to hear the things you love about Circa are still there. Really, they are just presented in a much more literal fashion, and that doesn’t mean this sound is boring or not worth your time.

“Stare Like You’ll Stay” is a powerful track, riddled with exciting guitar licks and inventive drumming nestled underneath Green’s playful vocal lines, while the slighty spacey “Backmask” creates tension through each passage until a resolve of wonderfully strung together guitars bursts forward. Anyone who thinks guitarists Colin Frangicetto and Brendan Ekstrom took a step back on this or Blue Sky Noise must certainly be out of their minds, as their mettle is more than proven throughout these five tracks. Likewise, Green is just a powerful a vocalist as ever, weaving his delicate voice through line after line with strength and ease.

The EP closes with “Lazarus”, a track nearly five-minute track brimming with a brooding timbre and sparse guitars. The feel of this track rests in its mood as it progresses from brooding and delicate to huge and surreal, as you get pulled further and further in as the track moves towards its summit-like ending of screaming guitars and soaring vocals. It is a fitting, moving ending to such a powerful track.

Whether you loved or hated Blue Sky Noise, Appendage is a must hear for Circa Survive fans. Major label or not, Circa Survive shows a band that has matured past the super-noodly nature of their past works into something much more powerful and are going to be better off for it.

1. Sleep Underground (Demo)
2. Stare Like You'll Stay
3. Everyway
4. Backmask
5. Lazarus

Circa Survive is an alternative rock band consisting of former Saosin vocalist Anthony Green and members of the now-defunct This Day Forward, including guitarists Brendan Ekstrom and Colin Frangicetto. Compared to the sound of Green's former group, the music of Circa Survive taps a different musical influence for Green, who cites Paul Simon, dredg, and Björk among later artists who have more influence on his vocal stylings in Circa Survive which are comparatively less aggressive, as well as his songwriting.

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