Review Summary: Circa Survive show as much disparity from one album to the next as The Real World does with seasons.
After garnering much praise for their debut LP, Juturna
, Circa Survive made quite the name for themselves in the progressive-tinged indie scene. However, many claimed that the amount of praise that had been handed over to the new Anthony Green and Co. on a silver platter was unjust. Several people pointed out the band's habit to meander; others critiqued the tedious and superficial aspects of the band. Some even said that the progressive element to Juturna
's sound was sheer. Despite this, Circa Survive decide to rehash the most impotent elements from their less-than-desirable debut and exemplify it. To add insult to injury, Circa Survive neglected the most memorable and original segments from Juturna
when constructing their unnecessary carbon-copy. In short, Circa Survive show as much disparity from one album to the next as The Real World does with seasons.
This rings true with the vocal stylings of Green. Rather than expand his vocal range, Green takes the route of safety into the land of mediocrity. Green alternates between an angelic croon and a similar vocal style that has a “vengeful” aftertaste. Therefore, he is as utterly predictable as the trite lyrical stylings this album has to offer. Instead of taking the tasteful route of introspect via present conviction, Circa Survive decide to pin themselves down as another band with a bleeding heart. Disappointment is guaranteed when discovering such pretentious, cliché lyrics as,
“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.”
Unfortunately, the musicians do very little to improve the listener's conceptions about the band. Any interesting musical concept that is approached on On Letting Go
is either too watered-down to be interesting, or too “been-there-done-that” for even Mitch Lucker. Sure, there's an occasional flourish of technicality, but for the most part Circa Survive are comfortable with riding the train of predictability. Such is noted when examining the album's lack of dynamics. “Mandala” is a prime example of the placidity that transferred from Juturna
to On Letting Go
. Even though “Semi Constructive Criticism” and “Your Friends Are Gone” are in stark contrast to the aforementioned flaw, their individual punches are delivered too little too late. This leads to a more stale version of what Circa Survive does best, faux-exoticism without bite. Even the most original aspect to the album, ethereal and soothing soundscapes, is plagued by Circa Survive's incapability to craft memorable moments. Therefore, it seems that Circa Survive's incompetence in terms of progression and originality has made itself all the more obvious on this album. It's a sad fate for Circa Survive, but a very real one.