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Russian Circles

Russian Circles
Russian Circles

Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving/Drowning Horse

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Rosemount Hotel

It’s probably fair to say American post-rock instrumentalists Russian Circles love Australia. One can only gather that from the string of dates they’ve had on our shores over the past five years. But coming time-and-time again, always with new material in tow, has proved to be fruitful for fans, with each show bringing with it its own idiosyncrasies. One thing was for sure: local Perth acts were definitely giving the headliners a run for their money this time around.

It’s been a while since Drowning Horse have been onstage. Locking themselves away for a fair few months to write and record the follow-up to 2012’s self-titled release is a good excuse, though. Tonight, we were offered a set of completely new material and the results were nothing short of mesmerizing. There has not been one time I’ve seen this band that I haven’t been shocked by the sheer quality of their material. Incorporating elements of drone, doom, industrial and noise – they use their time to build an atmosphere, slowly working their way to crazed apocalyptic highs before taking you down to the deepest, darkest pits of their psyche. Entrancing from their first to their final crushing note.

Although a regular on the Perth ‘post’ circuit, the last few performances of Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving have really entered into a class of their own. Their sets embody the very definition of intensity, taking punters on an aural journey from the feather-light and intricate keystrokes of Aaron Pollard to the more bombastic and technical rhythms of guitarist Andrew McDonald and Ben Stacy on drums. Also taking some time out over the last few months to record the follow-up to their 2012 debut, Deaden The Fields, we were given a glimpse of new material through new track The Albanian Sleepover (working title) – a tasty hint of a full length to come later this year.

It may have been two years since headliners Russian Circles have been to Perth, but a lot has gone down in that time. Dropping their fifth LP in late 2013, Memorial is a meticulously constructed piece with a sound much larger than the three musicians that make up this acclaimed outfit. But one of the reasons they are so good – both live and in the studio – is a sum of all their parts. Not only are they extremely tight live, their focus to achieving the best onstage gives them a sincerity that can be heard in each and every note.

Beginning with the dimming of lights and light ambient tones, guitarist Mike Sullivan slowly led the crowd in with a few sparse notes before the relentless pounding of drummer Dave Turncrantz signaled the start of 309 from 2011’s Empros. They went on to play a technically flawless set, delivering a great variety of tracks from their building back catalogue. Old material like Carpe was spliced between newer offerings like 1777 and Burial – the sheer impact of their sound often catching you off-guard if you weren’t prepared for the climaxes.

The most impressive part was the accuracy of their footwork, the impeccable timing of effects – reverb, looping, delay – creating a massive wave of sound that threatened to overcome the 400-strong audience over the one-and-a-half hour performance. Although absolutely enthralling, the dynamic nature of both local supports left Russian Circles coming off as delivering a more subtle approach – but they thrived in this space.

JESSICA WILLOUGHBY

 

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