Record #430: Circa Survive – On Letting Go (2007)

For ten years, I have written off Circa Survive as little more than a Coheed and Cambria ripoff, riding Coheed’s falsetto-voiced, prog rocking coattails all the way to the bank.

Rarely have I been more wrong.

I first realized my error when a song came on my Minus the Bear station with a totally badass guitar riff. I checked my iPhone to see who it was, and I was floored to see that it was Circa Survive. The soaring vocals approached Sigur Ros levels of alien. The composition was miles beyond than the typical emo outfit. And that guitar tone. 

To be completely honest, I would have fallen in love with this album for the guitar tone alone. It’s all wrapped up in reverb and feedback, with the chops to match. This album offers up some of the best post-hardcore riffs ever (see: the intro to”In the Morning and Amazing”).

And despite the Tim Burtonesque cover art that seems tailor made for a shelf on Hot Topic, the music is much more sophisticated than anything you’d call “mallcore.” Even though they’ve operated mostly within the post-hardcore scene, they have a progressive streak that hits closer to The Mars Volta than Thursday. Which isn’t to say there isn’t any hardcore fury on here. There are even a few breakdowns, but they aren’t excuses for dudes in tight pants to mosh.

So if you’ll excuse me, I have ten years of obsessing over this record to make up for.

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