Circa Survive – Juturna

Circa Survive

Anthony Green was staring success in the eyes when he decided to elude it. Saosin’s smash EP Translating the Name brought him huge tour opportunities and major-label courting. The other bandmates welcomed their skyrocketing popularity, but Green felt otherwise. The frontman abruptly abandoned Saosin and returned to his hometown of Philly to upstart a new band. Circa Survive is his current venture with ex-This Day Forward and Taken members, and lyrics off Juturna certainly allude to the situation. “I know what it feels like. Giving in to something you don’t understand,” Green insists on “The Glorious Nosebleed.”

Saosin fans will be drawn to Juturna because of the mutual vocalist, but that’s about it. As for everything else, the style of the band is completely different: space-rock rather than screamo. Green’s extremely distinct voice is best compared to Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction. His high register hovers, floats, and soars above the cosmic underbelly his bandmates brew. Every vocal produced is so elegant and flawless that ProTools clearly have aided the recording process. In a live setting, the vocals are a challenge to deliver as perfectly, and for good reason. The way Green strains his voice on “Act Appalled” and “We’re All Thieves” would translate to a karaoke nightmare. With Circa Survive, he’s completely changing gears from screaming, and the struggle is evident. At the high-profile Bamboozle Fest, the vocal performance supposedly was lacking.

The aren’t any major issues with Juturna itself, sans the track order. I’m talking about having the ferocious “Oh, Hello” at the laid-back latter part of the album. Generally, the songs all share brooding moods that move from calm to a little chaotic. There’s a relaxed, Engine Down-style atmosphere imposed from the dark chords of “Holding Someone’s Hair Back.” The epic single “Act Appalled” is a perfect introduction to the band, and it’s also a strong set opener. The band aggressively pounds away throughout, and Green tests his limits accompanied by a crescendo of drums and distortion (from 2:40 on). A song that showed up on the early demos as “Juturna” has been renamed to “The Great Golden Baby.” Casual guitar echoes, sirens, and mutely carries on as vocals take the forefront, perhaps a technique the band wears out. Finally evading boredom at about two minutes in, Green almost begins to channel his former band. “And the amplifiers scream out loud, for the last time,” he yells in front of a drumming blitz.

Pulling a Further Seems Forever, Saosin has avoided a breakup by recruiting a replacement for Green. The intriguing space-rock of Circa Survive really puts the man’s talents to better use. Something feels more sincere and powerful about his voice, and he doesn’t have to scream to accomplish that.