Sound — 9
Circa Survive have been known for mainly two things within their short career: Anthony Green's dynamic, impressive vocals and the band's crucial use of atmospheric textures and creative instrumentation. With this being said, there will be many Circa Survive diehards disappointed with Blue Sky Noise, for in this album the band takes a backseat to ambience in favor of more versatile, and for lack of a better phrase, more "in-your-face" songwriting. The album's second track and first single, "Get Out", illustrates this change extremely well. Taking more of a 90s alternative rock influence with this song in particular, Get Out is almost inarguably the heaviest (though still very melodic) track the band has released in its career. Though this evolution will alienate some fans, newcomers will most likely open up to this album easily. I have listened to Circa since On Letting Go, and I for one find this change in sound as an interesting, necessary progression. Songs such as "Through The Desert Alone" and "Imaginary Enemy" also show new types of songwriting in that has been introduced in Circa's repertoire, with the former track opening with anthemic war drums and a good guitar buildup, and the latter track with an odd opening: an odd, but unique combination of bass and guitar that justifies "Imaginary Enemy" being credible as the album's second single. Though old-school Circa fans may be disappointed with the radical departure, Anthony and the boys haven't forgotten the hardcore. They stick true to their ambient roots on tracks such as "Glass Arrows" and "I Felt Free". The former is possibly the most atmospheric on the album, and "I Felt Free" has some of the best lyrics and vocalwork by Anthony Green despite a lack of soaring high notes. Honestly, in this reviewer's opinion, "Blue Sky Noise" is the most versatile, most memorable Circa Survive album so far. I dare not say 'best' for fear of mass flaming and the fact that this album is still relatively new, but I do believe in the future, fans might look back and state this album as such.
Lyrics — 10
Just when everybody thought Anthony Green's performances couldn't get any better, he proves everyone wrong with this album. The album's themes include the loss of a former friend due to irreconcilable emotional differences ("I tried for so long to be what you needed...your imaginary enemy" as said in "Imaginary Enemy"), the successful act of moving on from a former lover and once again embracing freedom and independence ("I fell apart in your arms for the last time, and I felt free, because of the things you told me" as said in "I Felt Free"), and even a story of a place Green knew in his youth, possessive of some kind of foreign, enticing mysticism ("on top of the frozen creek, I would love to take you there. I swear it flows through me, on top of the frozen creek" as said in "Frozen Creek"). Anthony's songwriting and lyrics have always been listed as impressive in other critics and fans' opinions, but his work never before seemed so seductive or relatable. You're left hanging on to Anthony's every word, purposely listening to what he says and the ultimate motive behind his words. Not only have the lyrics of the album entered a new level of excellence, but Anthony's range hasn't suffered one bit. Always one to experiment with his vocals, Anthony screams his lungs out in "Get Out", soars triumphantly in "Through The Desert Alone", and varies his range from low to high with the skill of a true vocal master in "The Longest Mile". In short, if you thought Anthony Green was a good singer in his previous projects, or the previous Circa albums...listen to this album. You haven't heard Anthony Green like this before. Truly phenomenal in every way.
Overall Impression — 10
I love this album. In my opinion, it's one of the (if not The) best alternative/experimental rock albums of this year. I haven't been this affected by an album of this kind since the Pixies' "Doolittle", Smashing Pumpkins' "Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness", and Coheed And Cambria's "In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3". "Blue Sky Noise" really Is that good. Don't take my word for it. Discover it for yourself. If you for some reason you Don't want to listen to the full album, I'd recommend these tracks for listening: "Get Out", "Glass Arrows", "I Felt Free", "Imaginary Enemy", "Through The Desert Alone", "Frozen Creek", "The Longest Mile", "Dyed In The Wool".