Russian Circles: Geneva

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Russian Circles: <em>Geneva</em>

Instrumental band runs in loops on third album

More than most bands saddled with the vague “post-rock” label, Russian Circles effectively pares down its sound to two basic elements: thunderous riffs and tight rhythms.

No vocals obstruct its instrumental onslaught—which, on the band’s third album, Geneva, is mighty but repetitive. Each track traces the same loud/soft dynamic, which makes the songs both thematically cohesive and redundant.

The album picks up its pace with the aerodynamic “Malko,” the song’s forward motion giving the riffing some much-needed urgency. But the strings on 10-minute closer “Philos” sound staid and haughty—a pale version of Mogwai’s shapely excursions and Explosions In The Sky’s tender triumphalism. Guitarist Mike Sullivan makes the ’70s-metal influence obvious on churning opener “Fathom,” and the rhythm section of drummer Dave Turncrantz and bass player Brian Cook pound diligently, but there’s more artful noodling on Geneva than heavy crunch. Ultimately, Russian Circles pummel too politely.

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