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New Music: Russian Circles: "Harper Lewis" [Stream]
Are circles really different in Russia? Or did that end with the fall of communism? Chicago's Russian Circles aren't telling, comrades. They're instrumental like that. "Harper Lewis" is from the band's Suicide Squeeze debut Station (the follow-up to 2006's Flameshovel-issued Enter), and it's cold and vast like a certain Eurasian nation-- or just their local Lake Michigan for a few months around this time each year. Drummer Dave Turncrantz sets a militant tribal groove, while newly recruited bassist Brian Cook (of These Arms Are Snakes) drops anchor with a forbidding, slightly overdriven drone. That lets guitarist Mike Sullivan plot out slow post-rock builds, clicky headphone-panning arpeggios, and thrashing metal chugs overhead. If you sketched that all on a graph, the shape might be a circle, whatever country you're coming from-- or it might look like one of those plot structure charts from English class, spread out over seven minutes. If that's considered a circle in Russia, no wonder they lost the Cold War to the 1980s version of Fred Thompson.