Review — 'Beautiful Things' a product of comfort

Reviews / January 14, 2012

The best work from an artist often comes when he’s in an emotional life state; one that represents change or flux. Anthony Green, frontman for Circa Survive, is in that exact spot, currently raising his first child with his wife. In his second solo album, “Beautiful Things,” Green’s able to use those emotions that go along with this change, delivering an honest and open album, one that gives the listener a rare glimpse into a man’s new found comfort.

And you can hear that comfort bursting out of the album’s opener, “If I Don’t Sing,” as he tells the listener, “I’ll always be unhappy, if I don’t sing.” In prior tracks written by Green, he would have covered that truth by an analogy or symbolism of some sort. Now, he tells us exactly how he feels, without coating over his lyrics with creative confusion.

In “When I’m On Pills,” Green sings about addiction over some dynamic percussion work by backing band Good Old War, along with an electronic element. Addiction is a topic he’s touched on in many of his prior albums, but again, this just feels more personal. He sings about himself, not hiding behind a third person perspective, describing the different emotions that can stem from drug use.

The personal touch only grows stronger as the album goes on, with “Love You No Matter What,” having Green bear his soul to his family, in a song his son could listen to years down the road. Green exclaims, “Even if spikes grow out of your head….I’ll love you no matter what.” And he continues with, “You grow up to hate me, completely insane, then we will be the same, I’ll love you no matter what.”

A solo acoustic track from Green, entitled “James’ Song” is another tune devoted to his son, but one which has universal appeal, as it describes the joy that only a young child has. “He laughs at everything, on unknowing the joy that he brings,” is followed by, “The whole world is spinning around James.”

And while the songs containing more of a personal touch are the standouts, there’s also some dense rock songs to be enjoyed, thanks to Good Old War. The long-time Philadelphia collaborators provide layer after layer of solid musical work, especially on tracks like “Moon Song,” which ends in a flurry, and on “Blood Song,” a track inspired by the film “There Will Be Blood.”

On “Just To Feel Alive” LIGHTS shows up to provide backing vocals, softly singing over Green’s declarations of love within the chorus. Other guests include Colin Frangicetto, of Circa Survive, and Dave Davison, of Maps and Atlases. Bonus tracks feature vocals from Nate Ruess, of Fun., and solo artist Ida Maria.

In his most personal work of his career, Anthony Green has quite possibly created the best work of his career. And if this is what we get when Green decides to truly bear his soul, we can only hope he takes that philosophy with him wherever he goes musically.

You can pick up “Beautiful Things” on vinyl, here, from Photo Finish Records. The album is pressed on 180-gram black vinyl. There is also several vinyl bundles available here, which include a flexi disc. The flexi disc is also available in the Alternative Press magazine that has Anthony Green on the cover.

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Christopher Lantinen
Chris Lantinen is the owner and editor-in-chief of Modern Vinyl. Along with his modest collection of sad sounding records, he collects his share of soundtracks and previously adored indie up-and-comers. Chris is currently a professor of journalism and public relations at Edinboro University in the Erie, Pennsylvania area.

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