“I’ll always be unhappy if I don’t sing,” confesses singer, songwriter Anthony Green before leading listeners into a catchy vocal melody in the first track of “Beautiful Things.”
The second solo installment for Green, better known as the front-man and vocalist for the experimental rock band Circa Survive, was released Jan. 17, and is a surprising listen for fans who expected a follow-up similar to Green’s mellow, guitar-centric debut, “Avalon.”
Folk trio Good Old War, who performed as the in-studio band on “Avalon,” joined Green for a second time and has a noticeable presence and influence on Green’s record, especially in “How It Goes,” “Just to Feel Alive” and “Blood Song.”
Together, the four explored an assortment of genres, creating an entertaining and diverse collection of 13 songs.
However, such diversity becomes hard to follow at times, like in case of the out-of-place reggae tune “When I’m on Pills.”
Green begins the album with the powerful “If I don’t Sing” before subtly transitioning into the repetitive, locomotive-like “Do It Right.”
An unusual choice for the album’s second track, “Do It Right” seems almost unrehearsed, making it more appropriate as a hidden track. According to Green, the raw a cappella tune was recorded using only one microphone and sounds as such.
By building aggressive guitars riffs and driving drum patterns around his signature high, gritty voice in songs like “Can’t Have It All At Once,” Green appears to be narrowing the gap of distinction between the contrasting sounds of his solo work and Circa Survive on “Beautiful Things.”
Several of Green’s new songs, such as “James’ Song” and “Lullaby,” reflect his experiences as a new father.
“Love You No Matter What” opens with delicate female vocals and acts as a testament to Green’s devotion to his unborn child.
With lines like “Even if spikes grow from out of your head, and you’re shooting vomit fire all on the bed,” it is arguably the record’s most lyrically-peculiar song.
“Beautiful Things” is well-balanced, with darker, yet catchy compositions like “Get Yours While You Can” and “Blood Song,” offset by light-hearted, “Avalon”-reminiscent songs like “Just to Feel Alive” and “How It Goes.”
Although it is a disappointing follow-up to “Avalon” in some respects, most notably the overall less-polished production and sporadic choice of genre, “Beautiful Things” is undeniably more creative and an interesting experimentation of sound and writing, proof that Green is anything but stuck in a rut.