Monday, June 4, 2007

Circa Survive – On Letting Go

Band: Circa Survive
Album: On Letting Go
Release Date: May 29, 2007
Label: Equal Vision

So it’s been two years since Juturna. What could possibly be expected from Anthony Green and Circa Survive? Your feelings about On Letting Go, will probably be shaped by what you were hoping for. If you wanted more of what you loved two years ago, well then you’re going to absolutely love this release. Conversely, if you were hoping that within the past two years their sound had matured and that On Letting Go would mark a change, you’re going to feel a lot different this time around.

Personally I fall into the latter category, but after numerous listens it’s starting to grow on me. After getting past my initial hopes that what I’d be listening to would be jump forward from Juturna it has been easy for me to remember just why I loved Juturna and why I’m starting to love On Letting Go. That is, Circa Survive has some amazing musicians and brilliant direction, even if it feels two years old. As is to be expected Anthony Green is on the top of his game with bone-chillingly honest vocals. His style is unlike any other and it’s clear that he’s simply the best around. And luckily for him, and for us, he’s surrounded by a stellar band.

I once read someone remark that “All Circa Survive songs sound exactly the same, new and old.” While I don’t exactly agree, part of me knows exactly the basis for the comment. When listening to On Letting Go, it almost seems as though the entire album is one amorphous blob. While the songs are clearly different when you really get down to it, during a casual listen it can be hard to tell where one song ends and another begins. There aren’t very many standout songs on the album, at all. In fact, I feel like the only song that really has a unique sound is the final track “Your Friends Are Gone.” While it too falls into the Juturna B-Side category, it’s intro easily stands out from the pack. With it’s initial electronic sound and varying motions throughout it offers the most diverse content, musically.

Early on the album “In the Morning and Amazing” offers a progressive sound. It shows off the band’s talent with some intense guitar work and a solid driving drum beat. “The Difference Between Medicine and Poison is in the Dose” offers up a more ambient and languid pacing creating a more mainstream sound. “Semi Constructive Criticism” further reiterates the sound of Juturna along with others like “Living Together” and “Close Your Eyes to See” that seem to be struck from the same vein.

Overall, I’ve begun to enjoy the album. While I was initially turned off because On Letting Go is essentially Juturna 2.0, Juturna Redux, or Juturna B-Sides, I’m appreciating it a lot more. If I gave a numerical score I’d certainly knock off a few points because after two years, there’s no innovation to be seen. However, musically there’s a lot here. Circa Survive, as a band, is stellar. The instrumentation on the album is tight and the skill of each member is clear. Further, they’ve got arguably the best vocalist in the scene. Anthony Green’s vocals are amazing and his voice can easily be dubbed mesmerizing. If you were a fan of their 2005 release, you’re sure to find plenty to like here. All the ingredients of a great album are present, and this is just another reminder why Circa Survive is a great band.

1 comment:

Hobb said...

Pretty much exactly how I felt. The beginning of the album is pretty good, but it begins to falter after the fourth song, and doesn't pick up again until "On Letting Go". Coincidentally, I felt pretty much the same about Juturna. Good beginning, slow middle with some stand out tracks, but the ending sucked.