The path to longterm industry success has traditionally revolved around strong singles that help keep an artist in regular rotation while they tour from city to city, hopefully winning over new listeners each night. This applies to all areas of music, especially more mainstream talent, and it’s a method still used by many to find and maintain popularity today.
That said, there are other ways to establish a lasting career in this business, though those paths often require much more work. Circa Survive is not a band most would associate with a single song or sound, but for over a decade now they have remained one of the most popular and powerful bands in alternative rock. Their music is not so much about individual songs as it is a feeling that their music gives you. If one song connects it is more than likely they all will, and becoming lost in the world of sound the band create is what has kept fans showing up in droves for the last thirteen years.
The Amulet, Circa Survive’s sixth studio album, raises the bar with an emotionally-driven creation that demands listeners surrender their control and lose themselves in the music. It’s less of a traditional record, with song after song serving as an individual piece to a bigger work of art, and more of an all-consuming experience that tightly wraps itself around your heart and slowly plucks each string. That may sound a bit painful, but it’s the kind of pain you need in order to find relief. When songs like “Premonition of a Hex” and “Rites of Investiture” play you become immersed in a space where you can shake off the worries of the world and realign yourself with the things that really matter.
One might hesitate to call The Amulet a replacement for real therapy, but there is no denying the healing found in every song on this powerful release. Circa Survive may never be considered a household name, but for those willing to submit to the journey the band creates through each release the impact will be immeasurable. Buy the ticket, take the ride. You won’t regret it.
* A shorter version of this review appeared in Substream issue #58.
Want even more Circa Survive coverage? Click here to read our exclusive interview with vocalist Anthony Green about the creation of The Amulet, performing at Red Rocks, and more.