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18 of 20 found the following review helpful:
Ambitiously Epic May 29, 2007
So here we are. 25 months after Juturna's debut, an album that most would consider a gift-wrapped surprise to the "experimental/prog rock" genre, an album - no matter the measure of its atmospherics, screamed potential and evenmoreso a sense of modesty. Well at last, we get to find out what Green & Co. have been up to, and apparently they've been up to a lot.
"On Letting Go" teeters on epic. A balance between the subdued, yet meticulously crafted (Kicking Your Crosses Down / The Greatest Lie) to the punch in the face, no holds barred unexpected (Semi Constructive Criticism / Mandala). With a lineup so versatile as talented, mediocrity and monotony is simply unheardof - this is the type of combination that guarantees an album that just delivers - especially at a consistent level.
The more prevalent presence of Frangicetto & Ekstrom on multiple outings (In The Morning and Amazing / The Difference Between...), is a key component to what makes OLG as being a more mature and defined piece of work. Green's vocals and songwriting capabilities also can't be denied here: "If blood is thicker than water / Then you'll drown quicker than we intended / And you'll know where you can find us in the end / So we can begin again."
Also, hats off to Brian McTernan for engineering some of the most amazing production work heard in recent years. While most clean-cut, polished albums are frowned upon, the sharpness of OLG is a massive compliment to the art that Circa has created here. The only thing worse than overproduction is underproduction.
In a nutshell it's anyones guess where the band chooses to go from this point, already with 2 impressive albums under their belt, Circa has a wide, tasteful palette to expand from and they have yet again raised the bar to an even higher standard.
7 of 8 found the following review helpful:
This building smells so familiar Sep 03, 2007
By Luke Rounda
First they were "Holding Someone's Hair Back," now they're "Living Together." Between Juturna and "On Letting Go," the Circa blueprint hasn't changed much: woolly waves of fuzz pedal bliss lap at the eardrums from the get-go, showcasing Green and Co.'s penchant for mesmerizing midtempo space rock has not yet ebbed.
Nothing written about Circa Survive can truly claim completeness without a smattering of Anthony Green references. The guy is a little hard to ignore, especially belting out the words to the songs like the offspring of a violin and a choir boy. Green's vocals are legendary and instantly recognizable, and a perfect fit for this type of music.
Ironically, what catches the ear about Circa Survive at first listen is also what can cause them some trouble. Anthony Green can hit those high notes with clear ease, and the quavering timbre of his voice is an instant hook to anyone who hasn't heard Circa or Saosin before. But there's no denying that he stays within his langorous comfort zone as a vocalist-- no doubt as a means of helping create Circa Survive's overall listless, spaced-out vibe. You shouldn't blame Green for this; he sounds great up there. But his vocal style can be like the sound of syrup on your breakfast pancakes: sticking endorphins to the roof of your brain while making you sick to your stomach if you eat too much.
Depending on attention span, "On Letting Go" might prove to be "too much" for some. But the album overall has some truly great moments, despite risk of seasickness from casual listening. Opener "Living Together" is awash in loud-soft-loud grunge throwback goodness spiced by interwoven fuzz guitar work and well-grooved turnarounds, while "Kicking Your Crosses Down" sounds a total experiment for the band, beginning like a soft, slow ballad but throwing out a bit of a curveball on the choruses. It's also a nice break from the searing blare of guitar and vocals that otherwise compose the album, and proves that the band are capable of such a feat, if nothing else.
The dire and dynamic title track "On Letting Go" is a clear standout as well, filled with haunting trem-picked guitar and the seasick groan of an abused whammy pedal supporting hushed and restrained performances from the rest of the band. Green sings, "Wash off your handcuffs, and know the hidden messages you hear, they aren't real. You tricked your mind to feel."
Closer "Your Friends Are Gone" missteps with an unnecessarily irritating and out-of-place guitar riff before sliding into the real meat of the song. A meandering chorused guitar demands attention during the verses, while Green again takes center spotlight for the choruses and outro.
"On Letting Go" is one of the obvious standouts of the year, but the future hopefully holds even more exciting things from this band. Circa 2007, Circa Survive are still quite listenable as a unit, and show clear ability to write blissful space rock tunes that haunt, hypnotize and entertain the brain. If they could just convince their comfortable lead singer to experiment just a little more vocally, they'd have a bona fide masterpiece on their hands.
6 of 8 found the following review helpful:
Definitely Not Going To Let This Album Go May 29, 2007
By L. Lee
"writer, somewhat audiophile"
For people who know how Anthony Green sounds like, he doesn't sound much different in this album. Vocally, its basically slightly refined from Juturna, their debut, but perhaps that's merely the increased production in this album. As their sophomore, ON LETTING GO is a drastic leap from Juturna, which was rambling, and on which, some of the songs started sounding like the previous. Juturna grew on me, but I didn't see much of the guitars or even the drums being anything special. Not so with ON LETTING GO. This is hot and heavy fast. No matter what, a single sampling of "The Only Difference Between..." and you'll be in--all in. Swiveling, swiping guitars and effects, intense drums, even tightly wound basses frosted with Green's surroundly unique voice makes a perfect cake. No longer do the other guys seem like a touring band with a vocalist--instruments actually play equal roles this time around, unlike Juturna. Still, the lyrics are very powerful, more so than Juturna's "Eternal Spotless"-copied synopsis lyrics. "All I wanted to be was one of your children"
Are we even now? We are unrelated" from the title track is resonating in my mind. Its nothing positvely direct, but the meaning is abstract when other lyrics are involved, but a hot point is the "If blood is thicker than water
Then you'll drown quicker than we intended," which sounded cliched at first, but it relays a strong message when compounded with strong guitars and pedal effects. Although much of the guitars are basically played with varying amounts of distortion and rabid use of hammer-ons and pull-offs, the other effects used are also unimaginably settling. The mood that the album creates is more of an atmosphere--its like stepping into Willy Wonka and ordering everything at once. There are a few gripes. "Kicking Your Crosses Down" is so beautiful, and it stays beautiful until you hear the flamenco-acoustic cuts placed in between the beauty. You'll know it if you hear it. Its out of place. It kinda ruins the mood because the beauty is that its soothing and then flamencos kinda create a differing mood. The beginning of "Your Friends Are Gone" I thought was kinda pointless. It was an electronical voice speaking "your friends are gone" in a heavily distorted tone and it was totally unnecessary, as with the positive tone at the intro of the song of the instrumentals, as the song is kinda heavy-hearted. There isn't a "Meet In Montauk"-styled 8-minute silence, and the "Your Friends Are Gone" concludes when it concludes, and the ending seems kinda cut-short. It ends in a kind of toneless mood, with "Nobody cares". Still don't let it deter you at all. Before I forget, "Mandala" is weird. And its weird even for Circa. Flailing drums didn't really fit the lyrics, especially the "Let the people be free" chanting--it just didn't work at all for me, and its something I try to ignore in a rush--you know the one song you'll ditch in a rush.
The highest point where I could relate to was the wailing "Did you ever wish you were somebody else?" I truly loved that portion of the "THe Difference...". Either way, Juturna and On Letting Go are on different levels of the spectrum--and in differing points of stages--this is two years after, and with touring, the band wouldn't have been the same. If anything at all, if you aren't satisfied with hearing Green on Zolof, old-Saosin, The SOund of ANimals..., you'll get very satisfied here. This is totally worth it, and it works best under some stars or at night. This isn't much of a sunny album you hear with a convertible, just to let you know in my opinion. Its definitely nothing you've heard before.
1 of 1 found the following review helpful:
All That Matters... Jul 14, 2008
By Gregory Bowen
OK, so you've read all of these reviews...are you set on your beliefs now? You shouldn't be.
The true beauty of Circa Survive is its ability to touch each listener in a unique and ever-differing fashion. No two people experience this band the same way, and that is the genious in the method. Of course, Anthony Green is the focal point of the group. He is a god of the experiemental/indie scene, claiming hordes of loyal fans. Green's departure from Saosin proved it was about the music, not the money. As a result, he has garnered a fanbase that is rabidly loyal. With little to no publicity, Circa (and Green) has become the biggest name in the genre, and can comfortably claim their title as "cream of the crop."
If you're still on the fence with this album, go to wal-mart and pick it up. I promise, regardless of your musical taste, you will find something to love in "On Letting Go."
1 of 1 found the following review helpful:
A new direction Jun 25, 2007
By Pierre Schifflers
Circa Survive's Juturna left a lot of people schocked because literally out of nowhere, one of today's most talented bands was born. Now, Circa Survive have released their eagerly-awaited follow-up to Juturna, and does it live up to the expectations?
The album starts off with one of Circa Survive's best tracks "Living Together" which showcases some nice guitar melodies and leads. Anthony Green still shows off his vocal talents in the same manner as the previous album, while still writing captivating lyrics. The drums are still as present as ever with the odd-time signatures that constitute Circa's trademark. The drummer especially stands out in the track "The difference between medicine and poison is in the dose" where he leads off in a 16th note beat on the hi-hat.
However, this release just doesn't have the same feeling as Juturna which had an overall mood and just flowed with not a false note. Here, the band tries out some different directions with songs like "mandala" or "Kicking Your Crosses Down" which are honestly skip tracks. We just feel in these songs that Circa isn't as confident as in their other songs. In Juturna, every song was a standout and every song had a different effect on the listener. For this release, all songs are good but only a few stand out as being classic Circa Survive tracks.
That is not to say the record is not good, obviously it is phenomenal and definitely refreshing due to its unequaled originality. It also has that unique atmosphere that makes Circa Survive so special.
The artwork of the album is also very original with very beautiful drawings and nice fold-out pages which definitely add on to the evasive mood that Circa create through their art.
Overall, I would definitely recommend all Circa Survive fans to get their hands on this new release. Indeed, I may have found this release weaker than Juturna but some people may like it more, it's up to you. But one thing is for sure, it's that Circa Survive are definitely a stand-out band who are gonna be here a long time and that it will take a long time before another band bursts out onto the scene and surprises thousands of listeners in the way this band did.
Standout tracks include: "Living Together" , "Carry Us Away" and "Your Friends Are Gone"
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