Russian Circles: Enter
Instrumental rock is extremely easy to screw up. Since Don Caballero broke up there have been a boatload of shitty instrumental bands washing ashore under a banner of post-rock, neu-jazz, and any other wacky rock nomenclature that’s sticky or esoteric enough to be chic. And, as my friend Kristian would say, all of that music is making fun of you.
Russian Circles, on the other hand, is an unstoppable rock juggernaut making out with with Zeus himself in the rain. If you didn’t know and did not have this picture of them next to you, you might assume (as I did) that this was a five person instrumental line up, the fifth person being on a third Guitar. It wasn’t until I saw them in London that I realized there were only three of them. And that they are able to pull every single riff on the album off flawlessly. What these guys do is orchestrate themselves to the limits of their playing ability, making no concession for a heavy under-the-counter dose of headbanging and on-stage writhing. While bands like Explosions in the Sky, Yndi Halda, and GSY!BE (RIP) have the drawn-out, climactic post-rock opus covered, these guys pour the same amount of energy and transcendence into a 6-minute track, with sweat, hair, and guitar necks crashing all over the stage.
Listen to: Carpe from Russian Circles’ 2006 album, Enter.