In barely four years of existence Chicago’s Russian Circles have etched out quite a name for themselves. Having lived in the Windy City at the time of the trio’s inception, I played first-hand witness to what was nearly an overnight success. While the likes of Pelican, Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky, and Don Caballero have influenced a myriad of new instrumental acts, few are able to consistently captivate audiences. Within months of playing their first shows, Russian Circles were maxing out capacity limits in small clubs and d.i.y. spots throughout the city and leaving a trail of dropped jaws in their wake. Since then, their mechanical precision, orchestral arrangements, swelling dynamics and sheer intensity have created what seems to be a unstoppable force of international sub-culture hype that, for once, is entirely justifiable.
The marvel of Station, the follow up to 2006’s Enter, lies in its wordless narrative. Each one of the record’s six tracks (some of which top out at almost nine minutes) seep in the senses like a chapter, ultimately culminating into a seamless and moving collective work.
Although songs such as “Harper Lewis” and “Youngblood” bear elements of the signature speed riffs and crushing blasts that defined Russian Circle’s debut album, Station often embraces a quieter, more ethereal tone. Guitarist Mike Sullivan’s knack for both loop-layered intricacy and relentless bursts of high-volume stadium-ready power shines with indie-virtuoso credibility. Drummer Dave Turncrantz’s flawlessly syncopated ebb and flow sets the foundation, while newly recruited bassist Brian Cook (of These Arms Are Snakes & Botch) fills out the equation with a grizzly and ominous low-end drive.
Spine-tingling and rife with a fluid diversity that defies conventions of classification, Station marks one of the year’s finest aural installments and will undoubtedly capture a vast array of listeners.