Appendage review by Circa Survive

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Nov 30, 2010
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (21 votes)
Circa Survive: Appendage
2

Sound — 9
Signing to a major label raised expectations, produced doubters and most of all, provoked Circa Survive to find themselves, their heart and their voice. The second EP from the Philadelphia experimental group reassures they've done just that. Appendage looks like a typical extended play with b-side recordings from the group's Blue Sky Noise sessions, but it speaks in a tongue similar to an album. The five tracks cut from the band's time in Toronto, Canada exemplify the transformation that took place between On Letting Go and the third studio release.

"Sleep Underground" fights off a demo-ish feeling with a haunting melody one would expect to be torn from Juturna, with vocalist Anthony Green's kindhearted wail becoming tangled with bewitching guitars. Such an example of seduction continues on in "Stare Like You'll Stay", a number more joyous than the material found on Circa Survive's 2010 release. Though the uplifting nature is puzzling for a second, the steady rhythm section shades the chemistry that defines the band as each member accents the other's work, creating an ideal balance between teamwork and solo contributions. The recreation of "Everyway" proves that point as well, taking the acoustic clip into studio and watching it unfold into a composition that weighs the right amount of abstract noise and vocal explosion, complimenting the group's five-year trademark sound.

Lyrics — 9
Every word Anthony Green utters stems from his creativity and his feelings, some of which believe should be constantly explained so listeners can associate with him on a personal level. The trials and tribulations that helped manufacture Blue Sky Noise still exist in the lyrical work that construct Appendage, adding a bit more mystery and a tiny drop of sadness for those who know of Green's adventure with life the past few years. On "Backmask", the vocalist couldn't project more honesty in his voice through soft tones and a repeated hook. "Don't know why so much confusion needs to be obsessed about / Under the mountains, the seed's depression, watch it disappear," sings Green before gliding into a bit reminscent of On Letting Go.

Even "Lazarus" and it's timid characteristics push Green and the group further into the mainstream realm. "When I'm alone, I make believe that I'm in a different time and place where nobody wants to know my name," whimpers the 28-year-old, clashing his most intimate feelings with a radio-ready chorus you'd rarely expect from Circa Survive. That is until guitarists Colin Frangicetto and Brendan Ekstrom unfold with the singer joining in to paint a theatrical minute-and-a-half long ending.

Overall Impression — 8
Loyal followers will agree, Appendage should have pushed the thirty minute mark. Extended plays come with certain restrictions (depending on the artist) but this release should have included more material, even though four out of the five tracks push over four minutes. Length is a flaw, but the b-sides flourish at pleasing; the melodies don't stray too far from the creator's tastes and Anthony Green's voice still captivates at a soft tone, not mimicking more energetic tracks ("Get Out", "Imaginary Enemy"). Appendage may be a limb from Blue Sky Noise's soul, but in reality, it should have been a part of it all along as it displays the talent behind an emerging band with a voice that's need to be heard, felt and experienced.

20 comments sorted by best / new / date

    POPbottlez
    Andragon wrote: Ten times better than Saosin.
    Oh, so your THAT guy. OT: Pretty good collection of tunes, kinda like Blue Sky Noise w/ a twist on the emotional side of things.
    mercurywaltz
    You have to understand that He's at a happy point of his life because now he has a child and he wanted to make a more upbeat record. You can't stay the same your whole life. Blue sky noise has the old circa sound with an upbeat setting. Minus maybe 2-3 songs on that album. You can enjoy all three of their albums but only if you aren't close minded. Enjoy Circa for what it is
    This was actually a pretty dark record. Mainly because Anthony and his wife had just lost a child in miscarriage which is what Spirit of the Stairwell is about.They just had their child like 2 weeks ago, months after the record came out and even longer since it was finished. Most of the album is about fear of holding up to your own expectations, find your own path in the way you express things, and finding acceptance that no matter what, no one will understand you 100% ever, and thats ok. Theres a lot of analogies to finding your own path and other artists leaving signs leading the way. That new symbol they have is the Safe Camp symbol used for traveling hobos. Hobos would leave each other signs in their travels showing where things are and where and where not to go. This was a pretty damn deep and driving album and the Ep just strengthens it.
    jetman666
    i love everything circa has done; including this EP. i really can't wait 'til someone tabs out backmask and lazarus. i'm glad if they get popular. i want them to. i always try to get everyone i know to hear them and now MTV is doing it for me. that's great. it's not like the music they made before they were popular will suddenly suck. instead, people will hear it and hopefully more bands will come out within this genre. my favorite bands? 1. circa survive 2. thrice 3. secret and whisper
    circasurvivor20
    Im sketchy. I got pumped up for nothing in regards to blue sky noise. The amazing album cover couldnt even save it. Juturna is a masterpiece, On Letting Go is pretty fkn great, blue sky noise was a let down. Its nice to see some references to Juturna in relation to this new EP but im skeptical if those folks even really enjoyed Juturna. I just dont get how one can enjoy both Juturna and BSN. :S
    All three of their albums are amazing in their own way. The first two were almost the same style and it was amazing two of my favorite album but at that time Anthony Green was at a dark point in his life. You have to understand that He's at a happy point of his life because now he has a child and he wanted to make a more upbeat record. You can't stay the same your whole life. Blue sky noise has the old circa sound with an upbeat setting. Minus maybe 2-3 songs on that album. You can enjoy all three of their albums but only if you aren't close minded. Enjoy Circa for what it is.
    enjoikav93
    Circa Survive is so out there that you have to go into their albums not expecting anything, i've fallen in love with them over again every time an album comes out, Appendage is definitely different/old but it's just as amazing as any Circa album to date. just my personal opinion though.
    organeyes11
    Im sketchy. I got pumped up for nothing in regards to blue sky noise. The amazing album cover couldnt even save it. Juturna is a masterpiece, On Letting Go is pretty fkn great, blue sky noise was a let down. Its nice to see some references to Juturna in relation to this new EP but im skeptical if those folks even really enjoyed Juturna. I just dont get how one can enjoy both Juturna and BSN. :S Its the same deal with Alexisonfires S/T and there newest releases. how can one honestly enjoy both?
    mankilla69
    This was the opening band for Deftones.....I heard his voice and I thought the singer was a chick xD
    leo11x
    dennis030 wrote: On letting go was a 9,5 Juturna was a 10 Blue Sky Noise was a 5 And Appendage a 6,5 I am very dissapointed. This band used to be unique but they turned into a ****ing Pop Band... Anyone agree?
    Sure they appear on mtv like every ****ing half hour In what way they were "unique", im still trying to find band that sound like circa survive and havent found them, could you tell what band or musician is circa copying? by the way how does people dare to compare an EP with a full length album, apendage is the b-sides of Blue sky
    rsjissick wrote: why can people accept change from styles their first to cds where awesome and blue sky noise was killer and thhis ep is great, stop crying about being let down because it wasnt to this or that, no band will listen to you they will write the music they want to write
    Totally agree, Anthony Green left sasoin and started a new band with different sound for a reason and his many other collaborations and projects had prove that he is capable of almost any kind of music. The rest goes for Colin and the rest of circa since blues sky, juntura and OLG are completely different
    rsjissick
    why can people accept change from styles their first to cds where awesome and blue sky noise was killer and thhis ep is great, stop crying about being let down because it wasnt to this or that, no band will listen to you they will write the music they want to write
    Luis55555
    [b] This band used to be unique but they turned into a ****ing Pop Band... Anyone agree?
    I dare you to find a pop band with the same amount of intricacy and depth in their music as Circa Survive. Sure maybe the songs are a bit more catchy this time around, but they are still a very unique sounding band. At least, thats my opinion.
    Count Orlok
    Saw them at the Coheed and Cambria concert I went to, these guys are definitely amazing.
    Night_Lights
    thought Blue Sky Noise was too mainstream sounding for my liking. Juturna and OLG are still in my top 10 favorite albums of all time though. Haven't heard this yet, keen to give it a chance.
    Andragon
    I ****ing loved their other albums. Ten times better than Saosin. Must pick this one up!
    loungeact88
    They've gone in a new direction that I don't particularly like since Juturna and On Letting Go. Thought their first two albums were amazing then stopped listening after that.
    DustyEggNog
    Blue Sky Noise and On Letting Go were masterpieces. I'm not a fan of this as much though. I mean it's good, the musicianship is incredible of course, and Anthony's vocals can still turn a man gay in 13.8 seconds. But in my opinion it's just not AS good as Blue Sky Noise. Maybe I'm just being critical.
    MatasTeen
    Wow, I love On Letting Go and Blue Sky Noise and I'm certainly gonna check this out. Amazing writing by the way. English is not my first language and I had to dig deep to grasp some of the concepts you drew about this album/ these songs.
    dennis030
    On letting go was a 9,5 Juturna was a 10 Blue Sky Noise was a 5 And Appendage a 6,5 I am very dissapointed. This band used to be unique but they turned into a ****ing Pop Band... Anyone agree?