Circa Survive Takes on 10 years

Anthony Green’s various projects (Saosin, The Sound of Animals Fighting, Circa Survive, etc.) were the soundtracks to my angsty teenage years. I remember seeing him with Saosin at The Beaumont Club. Between songs, the frontman began reciting a poem, slowly taking steps back. When Green had finished this recitation, he had backed up to the drum kit–five or so feet from the mic, but his volume remained the same. His intensity and vocal strength was and is a driving force for Circa Survive–something their second album, On Letting Go, took full advantage of.

Now at 10 years old, On Letting Go sounds as good as it did when I rode to and from high school, blasting it from my car’s speakers. Starting with “Living Together,” the album wastes no time announcing itself. Full of fiery and angular guitar riffs and percussion that takes advantage of a full kit, “Living Together” is a nuclear dynamo of a song. Energetic and catchy, this initial track will hook even the most jaded music fan.

And the rest of the album delivers the same level of passion. On Letting Go is one of those rare records that is able to sustain its high energy from start to end. Blending drones and dissonance with sharply crafted guitar work, the album diffuses into a myriad of genres like the best works of art do.

On Letting Go has one of my favorite Circa Survive songs “The Difference Between Poison and Medicine Is The Dose.” Built from squealing guitars and blast beats, the track mixes noise and melody in a way that opened my (then) 18 year old mind in ways music hadn’t before. “The Difference Between Poison and Medicine Is The Dose” is scene pop (the video has all the trappings of the mid-aughts scene–suits and ties!, business people!, guitar tricks!) at its most gripping.

And 10 years later, Circa Survive is still putting on heart stopping shows. Doing up the decade anniversary of On Letting Go, the band has created a visually stunning set and still sounds as tight as they did when the album was first released. Circa Survive’s tour will only come as close to Kansas City as St. Louis, but if you have the means to catch these guys, you should do it. They put on a great show.

And their live performances stem from their well-made albums. On Letting Go is definitely a timeless journey. The album ends with “All Your Friends Are Gone” (though the 10 year anniversary edition comes with a ton of demos and b-sides). The track is part aural soup and part suburban-surrealism. ”All Your Friends Are Gone” wraps up the album with the same heat that started it, transformed somehow by the grooves that preceded it.

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