In a defiant maneuver that offers a solid “screw-you” gesture to the industry bigwigs, emo alt-rockers Circa Survive have chosen to go truly indie, delivering their fourth studio effort Violent Waves on August 28 as a self-released project, and marketing it directly to their fans.
According to the band’s website, Violent Waves has been completely funded and produced by the band, and will be available to fans for as little as $5 for a digital download directly from the site. The album will also be available at iTunes and other digital outlets, as well as various independent record retailers. The band states on its website, “By choosing to download or buy our record straight from us you are choosing to give our band a future and are directly supporting us and our families.”
As for the album itself, from the quality of the production and the music, one could barely tell that Violent Waves is an indie project. While it would be a stretch to say there are any real surprises or groundbreaking shifts in musical style for this five-piece band, this is still Circa Survive at its best. The combination of powerful guitar riffs, atmospheric layering, poignant lyricism and Anthony Green’s unmistakable emotional vocals make this 11-track album a force to be reckoned with. On the chorus of the second track “Sharp Practice,” the band’s defiance is made very clear: “You get what you pay for / We can’t sell our g**damn souls anymore.” Other standout tracks for me include the opening track “Birth of the Economic Hit Man,” “The Lottery” and “Bird Sounds,”—and maybe it’s just me, but I really dig the sustained guitar chords over the frenetic drums in the opening of “Suitcase”. Perfectly haunting.
Whether this move to the indie side is going to hurt or help Circa Survive in long-term album sales remains to be seen, but from a musical and production standpoint, at least, Violent Waves sends a clear message that “we don’t need no freakin’ record label.” Free to create as they choose, this band has shown they can stand on their own ten feet.