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ALBUM REVIEW: Circa Survive’s Amulet Is Exactly As Expected

Article by Miranda Woody Circa Survive’s latest release, a ten-track album titled The Amulet, strikes me as severely underwhelming. In a season in which bands such as Foo Fighters and Brand New have released boundary pushing hits, Circa Survive’s latest album struggles to compete. Though a few tracks on this album are noteworthy, most of the ten tracks sounds exactly like tracks from any other Circa Survive album, which is not a bad thing, but it also isn’t a good thing during this experimental time for music. Although my opinion may be an unpopular one, I will unpack the album nonetheless. The album opens up with two tracks titled “Lustration” and “Never Tell a Soul”. Though neither song is bad, with both featuring Circa Survive’s signature, melodic guitar sounds and the vocal stylings of Anthony Green, neither song stands out from other Circa Survive songs. Only when you get to the third track on the album, titled “Premonition of the Hex”, do things get interesting. “Premonition of the Hex” begins with heavy guitar melodies that, although staying true to Circa’s style, shake things up a bit. A powerful percussion beat keeps the tempo up in this song, and Green’s vocals kick in around the forty second mark. The song goes through some interesting melodic shifts, and the percussion stays steady and upbeat throughout. This song is one of the few outstanding tracks on the album, which The Amulet desperately needs. The next track “Tunnel Vision”, has an interesting start but soon falls into the typical Circa Survive sound. A melodic guitar plays over Green’s ethereal vocals, rinse, and repeat. The following track “At Night it Gets Worse” marks the halfway point of the album, and honestly I could not tell you much of a difference between this song and the last. Yes, the melody is different (slightly slower with a toned-down feel), but not much else changes. I will say, however, that Green’s vocals particularly shine on this track, which is always a plus. “Stay”, the sixth track on the album, begins with an interesting guitar riff and percussion beat that soon slows into something more tame and melodic. The song picks up at intervals, which keeps it interesting at times. The next track, though, is among my favorites and is definitely superior to the former. This track, titled “Rites of Investiture” begins with a somewhat heavy guitar riff, which transitions into a barrage of percussion and guitar sounds. Green’s vocals are slightly more rough on this track as well, which fits the songs edgier tone. This song kicks things up a notch, and feels like a much needed “pick-me-up” at this point in the album. I have nothing bad to say about this song, and, in fact, it is one of only three tracks on the album that I personally considered downloading. “The Hex” follows up with an interesting beginning, but quickly falls into the same, melodic sound one would expect from Circa Survive. I must note, though, that this isn’t a bad thing if you’re a Circa Survive fan and purist: it is, simply, nothing new. The next track, “Flesh and Bone”, is a little better than its former. It takes on a much slower tempo and more solemn tone altogether, serving up Green’s vocals at the forefront. This is another track I would consider downloading. The final, and titular, track “The Amulet” is much like its predecessor; this track follows a slower tempo and more laid-back tone that actually serves the album well. Once again, Green’s vocals are showcased here and they definitely take center-stage on this track. The song’s melody is accompanied by interesting, and rather beautiful guitar sounds that pair perfectly with Green’s vocals. This is yet another track I would reccomend downloading. Overall, The Amulet isn’t a bad album. I wouldn’t download the entire album, though; I would pick a few, select songs that bring something slightly new and more interesting to the table. Otherwise, you run the risk of listening to the same Circa Survive tracks you’ve likely always heard, over and over again.

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