The long waited fourth studio album from the moody and intense Texas instrumental band Explosions In The Sky. Known for bringing an emotional heft and sense of hope to a usually placid genre, Explosions In The Sky have experienced the kind of meteoric rise in popularity that flies in the face of music industry convention. Their songs run well past a length suitable for radio play or commercial music videos; they avoid performing in LiveNation/Clear Channel venues; they didn't jump to a major label; and they don't sing. They're also the very rare band that fans of Sigur Ros, Sufjan Stevens and My Chemical Romance can all agree on. EITS are not just an anomaly, they're a gateway. Recorded by John Congleton (The Roots, The Mountain Goats) at Pachyderm Studios in rural Minnesota, the album is a massive leap forward, showcasing a broader instrumental range and their most focused, efficient songwriting. Bella Union. 2007.
Sometimes Explosions in the Sky start with a whisper and end with a scream, but on "Birth and Death of the Day", they begin with a scream and proceed into a symphonic odyssey that Aaron Copland might have composed if he'd played electric guitar. Like Copland, EITS are cinematic, but with more kinetic drive than any film--except maybe Koyaanisqatsi
--could match. Compositions like "It's Natural to Be Afraid" take you on epic journeys that roar like a Harley Davidson one minute and slip into taut contemplation the next, using the slow-tension build that EITS have perfected. All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
was produced by John Congleton, who has worked with lo-fi groups like the Roots and the Mountain Goats. That might explain why the album lacks the atmosphere of EITS's monumental The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place
and their Friday Night Lights
soundtrack. Instead, they rely even more on the arc of their compositions and the integral twin lead guitar lines that never solo but always drive the songs. They can shift from power-chord aggression to the sound of plucked mandolins in an instant. This is progressive rock for people who weren't even born when prog reigned supreme. It's the sound of King Crimson, transmuted through punk and grunge aesthetics. --John Diliberto