RUSSIAN CIRCLES: Station [Suicide Squeeze]

Not much happens on Russian Circles’ sophomore album. In fact, you’ll be nearly three minutes into the opening “Campaign” before the slowly expanding sound reaches a volume loud enough to grab your attention. At that particular moment, the guitars and drums swell to a glorious crescendo, and then … fall largely silent. This play on dynamics—lots of melodious quietude, punctured occasionally by loud, frenetic exertions—was also evident on the Chicago group’s 2006 debut, Enter. But for Station, Russian Circles emphasize the solid, flexible drumming of Dave Turncrantz. It’s quite easy for a post-metal instrumental group to get lost in guitar effects and noodled notes (and these guys have plenty of both), but a strong, understated drummer is a secret weapon. Without relying on overly complex time signatures or flashy skin-bashing, Turncrantz subtly guides the ship into interesting waters. Though Station only gets fully cranked twice (the Battles-esque title track, the explosive “Youngblood”), Turncrantz’s surefooted playing will keep your interest from flagging. []

—Jason Ferguson

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