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Explosions In The Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone CD (album) cover

ALL OF A SUDDEN I MISS EVERYONE

Explosions In The Sky

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.55 | 91 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Something about the name of this enigmatic band from (of all unlikely places) Austin, Texas, calls to mind the visionary mysticism of a William Blake canvas. And there's a lot of the same spiritual radiance and romanticism in their music as well, with all the grandiose instrumental epiphanies normally filed (for lack of a better pigeonhole) under the meaningless label of Post Rock.

However you want to define it, they certainly conjure up a big sound, as might be expected from a quartet of three guitarists and a very loud drummer (the occasional piano heard on this 2007 album is apparently new, and no less atmospheric than all the ringing, chiming, reverberating guitars).

This is (so far) the only Explosions album I've ever heard, so I can't say how typical it is of the band's work to date. It needs to be said that their singular style, blending moments of dreamlike delicacy with huge, explosive crescendos, doesn't seem to vary much from track to track, leading me to wonder how long they can continue plowing this fertile rut they've dug for themselves. (Hence, by the way, my conservative rating for an album I'm fast learning to love, which can also be read as a reflection of its slim 43-minute running time: a nod perhaps to quality over mere quantity, but nonetheless stingy by CD standards.)

In the meantime the band has certainly accomplished something unique and laudable in the all-too predictable market of current American music, forging a distinct, recognizable identity, and one based entirely on the (considerable) merits of their music. Notice how this beautifully packaged CD (the evocative woodcuts were again designed by Esteban Rey) doesn't offer any information about the line-up or instrumentation. Heck, even their official webpage is reticent about the band's history and biographical details.

Fair enough: it forces the listener to concentrate on the music itself, which ought to be enough to grab anyone's attention. Listen to the epic introductory fanfare of "The Birth and Death of the Day" (suggesting that dawn is the most traumatic moment of each new day), or the artfully arranged and orchestrated tension and release of "It's Natural to be Afraid", at 13+ minutes long the most impressive track on the album.

The band claims it was their most difficult album to write and produce, even after removing themselves to an isolated recording studio in the woods of southern Minnesota. But I would have to say the rewards of the finished product easily match the efforts needed to make it. This is a band well worth further exploration, and an album that once heard can be hard to forget.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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