Circa Survive

Juturna

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

Without question, the first noticeable quality about Circa Survive's Juturna debut is frontman Anthony Green's voice: a wailing, whiny instrument, which may just mark his band as the Darkness of the post-emo landscape. Love it or loathe it, you certainly can't ignore it, and by that measure alone it must mean he's onto something, right? Maybe, maybe not, and here's why. Written almost exclusively in an emo-approved first person, his stream-of-consciousness lyrics prove utterly impenetrable, and show no apparent relation to their often smart-aleck song titles ("Holding Someone's Hair Back," "The Glorious Nosebleed," etc.). This inevitably leads one to ponder whether they inhabit a higher plane of meaning, constitute a collection of in-band philosophies yet to be made clear, or simply represent tales told by a fool, signifying nothing. The indistinctive instrumental backing doesn't help matters much. For the most, it's unruly and seemingly stream-of-consciousness, as if the band believes that wandering aimlessly is in itself a sign of progressive songwriting. Not even contemporary comparisons like the Mars Volta approach their neo-prog this loosely, however, and tracks like "Act Appalled," "We're All Thieves," and "Always Getting What You Want," for all their prominent melody lines and muscular riffs, can only hold the attention so long before wafting away into the ether. This winds up diluting the music's impact rather than highlighting its unquestionably daring sonic perspective, with Circa Survive's claims about incorporating heavy metal (a distorted riff alone does not metal make) and progressive rock elements into their songwriting pretty much canceled out by their lack of discipline. In the end, if there's one thing you can't take away from Circa Survive, it's that they're bravely going where few mid-2000s post-emo and hardcore bands have dared; whether they're going anywhere at all, and if music enthusiasts will want to follow them there, remains to be seen.

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