A little while ago, someone asked me who my favorite frontmen were in today’s music. Though the rest of the five I listed took some time to spit out, the first name to come out was Circa Survive’s Anthony Green. His overall lyricism, the signature voice inflection, and his overall stage antics (like climbing into Jimmy Fallon’s balcony section while performing on his talk show) is what makes him better than the rest (IMO). That pick was only confirmed after reading the incredible Alternative Press cover story this month; how he had to overcome some personal demons and problems family wise is truly inspiring (if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you grab an issue when you see it).
That all being said, Anthony Green’s first solo album Avalon didn’t really resonate with me like his band’s work did. Most of the album had a folky aspect to it, which although original for it’s time, just didn’t stick with me like any of Circa’s past albums. Before reviewing his newest album Beautiful Things, I assumed that he would put out a true sequel to Avalon. In a surprise twist, the albums sounds much more Circa than his first solo album did, and it makes a tremendous difference.
The album starts off with a bombastic, complex piece of art “If I Don’t Sing,” which really shows off the talents of his backing band, the excellent Good Old War. Next was a delightful surprise, the
a cappella treat “Do It Right,” which was a unique sound to put onto an album like this (at least as the second track). The first single, “Get Yours While You Can,” is a raw alt-pop song at its core, with some of the darkest lyrics on the album. My personal favorite was Green’s love song to his newborn son, “Love You No Matter What.” With some uniquely amazing lyrics (“Even if spikes grow out of your head/Your shooting vomit fire all on the bed/You grow up to hate me, completely insane/Then we will be the same), it’s a perfect musical expression of a love from a new father to son. The closing track “Lullaby” is just that, a lullaby; a soft guitar song that could be played alongside a certain baby’s crib.
The folk sound I mentioned before isn’t exactly gone, but a lot more refined. “How It Goes” is a light stroll through Avalon-like territory, while “Just To Feel Alive” is an uplifting, vibrant romp. “Blood Song” is inspired by the movie There Will Be Blood, and has sort of a country twang about it. Besides those three songs, most of the album bends to the more alternative, Dear Hunter (who he will be touring with) like sound, which I prefer a lot more than his retrospectively depressing Avalon sound.
If there’s one thing I can say about Anthony Green, is that he is not afraid to be honest. Most of the songs (if not really all of them) are auto-biographical; picking out moments of his life and singing about them in a way which comes out both raw, emotional, and real. From top to bottom, Beautiful Things is a much happier, complete solo project than Avalon was. Although the first of the two albums was a good starting point for Green, his latest effort blows his debut out of the water.
For anyone looking for new music, Beautiful Things should be a top listen. His inflections, diversity, and lyrics is what makes him stray from the pack, and makes him truly memorable. The album is solid throughout, with no real low points to write about. I didn’t get to listen to the bonus tracks (including Ida Maria, fun.’s Nate Ruess, and Deftones’ Chino Moreno), but if it’s anything like the entirety of Beautiful Things, it will not disappoint.
Final Grade: A
Go Download: “Get Yours While You Can,” “Love You No Matter What”