Album Reviews — October 23, 2009 at 10:57

Ambient Sounds


This episode features music by Russian Circles and Silver Starling

Russian Circles: Geneva

The acclaimed Instrumental Metal trio from Chicago return with their third album, ‘Geneva’.  This seven-song set represents almost a full hour of Hard Rock and Metal music, all of it skillfully woven together into a symphonic whole.

There are several recurring melodies on this album, and the flow from song to song is seamless.  Using feedback, sample loops and focusing on the music, ‘Geneva’ creates an almost cinematic ambiance when listened to.

There are no vocals in their music; everything is entirely about the music, the instruments and how they interplay.  Without the need to back up a vocalist, the music itself takes the forefront, and the band can craft rich, sprawling tapestries of sound.  ‘Geneva’ is distinctive Russian Circles, and if you already own their two previous albums, you will want this one as well.

If, like me, ‘Geneva’ marks the first time you’ve gotten around to listening to Russian Circles, I’m confident that you’ll probably go out, like me, and get your hands on their other two full-length albums, 2006’s ‘Enter’ and ‘Station’, released in 2008.

Russian Circles: Geneva

Suicide Squeeze

Steve’s Rating: 10/10

Silver Starling: Silver Starling

Combining lower-tempo rhythms and an eclectic-yet-carefully-plotted blend of elements of Blues, Country, Rock and a very light production touch, Montreal quintet Silver Starling have launched one of the best debut albums I’ve had the pleasure of hearing.  Their eponymous debut launched here in Canada in September, but Tuesday, October 20 marks the release into the all-important American Market.

The music and lyrics here are dreamy, contemplative and most importantly, sincere.  The twangy, bottle-neck guitar, Acoustic and Rock guitars and Marcus Paquin’s gentle and rich falsetto have created the kind of album that could easily cross genre boundaries, getting play on Pop radio as much as on Country or Rock stations.

The album’s musical and lyrical contents have been greatly influenced by the death by pancreatic cancer last year of one of Paquin’s dear friends.  Songs like “The News” or “Caught in Your Glow” are especially poignant, but Silver Starling succeed in examining death and loss on these and other tracks without being morose, maudlin or depressing.  There is nothing in these songs that will alienate anyone.  Not all the music focuses on loss or death, but all of it is harmonious, beautiful, and well worth multiple listening.

Silver Starling: Silver Starling

Last Gang Records

Steve’s Rating 10/10

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