Russian Circles: Station

| May 14, 2008
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I see dead people, I think.

The first (and probably best) thing about Russian Circles' Station is apparent from the first beat. This is one of those rare recordings in which the listener can close his or her eyes and be standing inches away from the musicians. It is an incredibly live-feeling album, no fancy production tricks here. Rather, Station represents the loud, hypnotic and beautiful way Chicago's Russian Circles seem to approach each song as a craft of its own. Russian Circles has managed to take strips of styles and sounds blending them with great care and delivering an album that is as tense as it is freeing. For example, the song "Youngblood" begins with a spooky little riff that veers a little too close to sounding like the theme to the film Halloween. Although the heavy guitars that come in are expected, they are a welcome escape. It is hard though to say that any of these tracks is a standout over the others because this album works without dividing tracks. It feels and sounds complete.

I find that as I listen to this record, the title emerges as a central part to the narrative being played out through deep open sound space and the tightly packed corners where the musicians pounce on the elusive images. What is station after all? Station is the act of standing, the ability to be placed and remain there, which seems contradictory to the music of Russian Circles. While the album is cohesive, it does not seem confined or guarded. In fact, it very much feels like the beginning of a journey. Perhaps it's more like a ghost story. Each track is stationed but not confined to be just one thing.

Sunday, June 8, 9 p.m., $3. Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St.

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