Russian Circles - Heaven, London
Instrumental trio Russian Circles have been the model of consistency since their debut Enter back in 2006. A pleasing mixture of catchy hooks and technical flair, it is easy to be swept along in their swirling, vivacious flights of fancy. Now with Guidance, their sixth album of groovy, loopy post-rock unleashed, they at last return to this side of the pond; and it is no flying visit either, with tonight's London show being their eighth across these fair isles on this run.
Without a word uttered for the eighty minutes they grace the stage, Russian Circles still manage to connect with the thronged masses packed into Heaven on this breezy Sunday evening. Riding the peaks and troughs of this emotional roller coaster, each new track is greeted with a louder cheer than the last, whether is it from the latest record or as early as Station. The flow of the set is enhanced by moody, droney interludes that ensure there is never a moment of silence, no loss of momentum or awkward pauses.
The one criticism of the night is the persistently loud drums, at times almost drowning out the guitars altogether; as good a drummer as Dave Turncrantz is (and tonight proves just how good he really is), the key remains Mike Sullivan's masterful looping and layering. On the flip side though, it emphasises just how much heavier Russian Circles are live than on tape. The careful balance and intricate cleanliness takes a backseat as the raw power and energy of the songs shines brightly.
The magnificent night is brought to a thunderous close with personal favourite – and given the roar that the opening bars are met with, many others' too – 'Youngblood'. A perfect summation of what Russian Circles do best as the dizzying yet melodious guitars build into a riotous wall of sound, driven by the whirlwind drums and humming bass lines. It is a euphoric finish, the sparking diamond in a pool of gems.