Sound: 'Station' is a work that has been highly anticipated by the post-rock community, with their debut 'Enter' dazzling many people with it's hypnotic and steady sonic progressions. With such anticipation, the news that Russian Circles had parted ways with founding member and bassist Colin DeKuiper came as quite a blow to some fans. However, the album is upon us and it is clear that this news, while sad, has had absolutely no effect on Russian Circles' ability to write absolutely mind-blowing music.
When compared to the entirely unsettling introduction to 'Carpe', from their first album, the way that this album starts with 'Campaign' is not expected. The wall of looped guitars and slowly building drums, reminiscent of post-rock veterans Explosions In The Sky, dwell on optimistic moods, and while 'Enter' also had some similar uplifting passages, this album is on the whole far more positive. The clearly set out evolutions from the beginning to the end of each song is very impressive, with no conformity to the clich 'quiet to loud' build-up structure that so many aspiring post-rock artists feel the need to stick to. That is not to say that they don't know how to build up their atmosphere though, as every song peaks and troughs, from tentative delayed guitar lines right through to no-nonsense rocking out. It is this precision and unwavering vision of where their song is going that makes 'Station' such a beautifully well made album. Despite the songs reaching lengths of almost nine minutes, there is no directionless meandering. The songs end when they come to a natural conclusion, and they never reach the point where it seems that their only real purpose is to make a long song. The absence of a full time bass player (Brian Cook of These Arms Are Snakes handles bass duties) is barely even noticeable, and while I cannot say that the three instruments are any longer of equal importance to the bands sound, the bass is still handled excellently. The bass still goes hand-in-hand with Dave Turncrantz's driving power and Mike Sullivan's masterful loop-driven guitar work. // 10
Lyrics: This album is instrumental, but do not fret as contrary to popular belief you do not need vocals to make a complete line-up. // 10
Overall Impression: 'Station' is very clearly still a Russian Circles album, however the way they have refined their art, moved on and still retained their identity is commendable. Although there are songs like 'Youngblood', which would fit perfectly on 'Enter', the real standouts on this album are the true journeys in 'Harper Lewis' and 'Verses', the latter of which is arguably the best song Russian Circles have ever made. Despite now having released only two albums, Russian Circles continue to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with, accepted both in the post-metal and post-rock communities. Quite honestly this album is greatly recommended to absolutely everybody. Even if you are not used to instrumental music, 'Station' is an entire journey of its own, as well as another milestone in the voyage into the deep that is Russian Circles. // 10
- Duncan Geddes aka duncang (c) 2008