Where to begin?
Anthony Green, known as the frontman of Circa Survive, has released his second solo full-length, entitled Beautiful Things, for Photo Finish Records. With backing from Good Old War on the album, the shuffling, sometimes-acoustic, sometimes-experimental album is certainly a shocking difference for those who are used to Green singing over electric, indie-rock based instrumentation from his day job.
This is the main gripe with Beautiful Things. On tracks like the acapella “Do It Right,” the far-too experimental “Blood Song,” the so-saccharine-it-hurts “When I’m On Pills,” and the strange “Love You No Matter What,” it becomes hard to find anything that would warrant replay value, with the often over-the-top experimental instrumentation pushing listeners away more than reeling them in. “Big Mistake” sounds like Good Old War penned a track and decided to let Anthony sing on it.
It’s understandable that these songs wouldn’t all sound like Circa tracks, as exploring different styles is almost always the point of solo records from vocalists of bigger bands, but the sonic exploration Green was on during the writing of Beautiful Things doesn’t contain the superiority that past solo records from known vocalists, like Dustin Kensrue of Thrice and Anthony Raneri of Bayside, have contained. The disjointed nature of the songs, many of which jump from one style to the next, is jarring for the listener.
The record isn’t all bad, with tracks like “Moon Song,” which features an explosive, almost Circa-styled ending, the electric and driving “Get Yours While You Can,” and the soft and beautiful closing track, “Lullaby,” all being fantastic. Thankfully, the one constant on the record is Anthony’s voice, which is always superb no matter what instrumentation is backing it.
With a new Circa Survive record scheduled for release this year, it is understandable for Green to want to complete a solo record now, before his time is consumed by his main project. That being said, the songs on Beautiful Things aren’t connected enough and are too experimental to merit repeat listens. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come regarding Circa’s upcoming record.