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On Letting Go

Circa Survive

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Album Review

"You'll be relieved when you open up and let yourself seem vulnerable," Anthony Green coaxes on "Your Friends Are Gone," and he and Circa Survive are leading by example with their revealing album On Letting Go. Across a dozen songs, Circa Survive explore their inner workings and feelings, their relationships, their lives, and even their philosophies, delving deep into their psyches along the way. However, for all this exposure, the lyrics are often veiled enough that the group isn't left entirely naked, and sometimes even the themes are obscured. "The Difference Between Medicine and Poison Is in the Dose" is ostensibly about writer's block, but there's more emotional wallop than just that within. "Semi Constructive Criticism" is a bit more straightforward, an apology to a slighted bandmember, and the more obscure "Living Together" delves into the effect of music-making itself — but is "In the Morning and Amazing..." addressed to a person or an instrument? From the disowning of a wayward parent (the title track) to the philosophical questioning of "Kicking Your Crosses Down" and "Close Your Eyes to See," On Letting Go isn't content to let anything go without dissecting it first. And perhaps because there's so much lyrical intensity within, this time around Circa Survive create a more forthright sound than previously. Of course, the guitars still cascade across the grooves, off-kilter drumbeats still spatter the set, and the band's epic sound remains intact. But now their dramatic shifts are no longer the focus, with melodies coming even more strongly to the fore, along with more variation in styling. Circa Survive are growing at an astounding rate, and this much more mature effort suggests they're now reaching their prime.

Biography

Formed: 2004 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Philadelphia's Circa Survive were formed by former Saosin vocalist Anthony Green with guitarist Colin Frangicetto — both of them veterans of the local emo and hardcore scenes looking to indulge in the rule-breaking freedom of the neo-progressive movement of the mid-2000s. After Green and Frangicetto discovered likeminded bandmates in second guitarist Brendan Ekstrom, bassist Nick Beard, and drummer Steve Clifford, Circa Survive recorded their debut album, Juturna (named after a Roman goddess),...
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On Letting Go, Circa Survive
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