The Amulet

Circa Survive

(LP - Hopeless Records #2388)

Review by James Christopher Monger

The Hopeless Records-issued sixth studio long-player from the Pennsylvania-based progressive rock/post-hardcore unit, The Amulet opens with frontman Anthony Green crooning "Fed by hand and caught with force/our bed, sweet death." After planting those seeds of disquiet in the tenderest tenor ever, Green and company launch into the meat of The Amulet's lead single, "Lustration," an icy-hot blast of meticulously crafted prog pop, and arguably the most engaging song on the album. Follow-up "Never Tell a Soul" impresses as well with its nervy, sci-fi post-punk atmospherics and Green's effortless shift from clarion to guttural, but the meandering and melodically inert "Premonition of the Hex," also released as a single," kills some of the momentum. What follows is pretty much textbook Circa Survive -- jarring tonal shifts, epic drumming, sweet/sour melodies, and enough mathy bits to advance you two grades ahead -- with highlights arriving via the hard-hitting "Rites of Investiture" and the slow-building, but ultimately rewarding title track. Longtime listeners will know the drill, but newbies looking for some frame of reference might want to imagine Sigur Rós, Mew, and Sunny Day Real Estate in an art school lunchroom brawl.