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Explosions In The Sky - How Strange, Innocence CD (album) cover

HOW STRANGE, INNOCENCE

Explosions In The Sky

 

Post Rock/Math rock

2.88 | 40 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars In the beginning..

In 2000, a young band called "Explosions in the sky" from Austin Texas, who had been together for about seven months but had yet to secure a recording contract, recorded an album. It took only two days to record, and a further 2 days to mix and master. The result was this album, "How strange, Innocence". They pressed a mere 300 copies on CDR, and sold them to friends and family.

The band then went on to secure a recording contract, and have since released a couple of worthy albums. They therefore decided, with mixed emotions, to allow this album to be remastered and given a full commercial release. EitS themselves do not feel it represents their vision for the band, and appear almost embarrassed by the content. In fact however, while what we have here is clearly inferior to "The earth is not.." and "Those who tell the truth..", it is clearly by the same band and worthy of reaching a wider audience.

EitS themselves admit in the sleeve notes that one of their limitations was/is an "inability to play instruments". Inability is too strong a word, but it is apparent from their albums that these lads are not virtuoso performers. What they are good at though is making the most of what talent they do have.

"How strange, Innocence" is a lighter, more ambient album than subsequent releases. There is much more in the way of soft acoustic noodling, the band only occasionally moving towards rocking out. About half way through the album, it came to me that what I could well be listening to was a backing track for a Creedence Clearwater Revival album, in particular "Pendulum". Even the line up is similar, with only John Fogerty's vocals missing. The guitar sounds are very similar to those which Fogerty favoured, "Time stops" for example having some pleasant acoustic guitar as per CCR's "Rude awakening #2". Unfortunately, while this track is largely a pleasant, low key piece, there is a real rude awakening when Christopher Hrasky decides to assault his cymbals to the exclusion of all else. Fortunately, such clumsy interruptions are few and far between.

The tracks are generally lengthy, being highly repetitious with little real development. The majority start off as soft acoustic riffs, and get louder towards the end, something EitS have continued to exploit on subsequent releases. There are no vocals, and there is little variation instrumentally, the line up being twin guitars backed by bass and drums. While the music may appear at times to be improvised, it is clear that these are compositions. The band makes the point that although there are no lyrics, for them each track paints a picture or tells a story. There are points, such as the unaccompanied feedback guitar on "Look into the air", where it seems they might break into a tasty guitar lick, but all too quickly they get cold feet, and the momentum is lost.

It is good to see this album get a proper airing, it would have been wrong for it to lay undiscovered beyond the band members and their chosen few. Taken in context, it is evidence of a fine new band who are willing to forego guaranteed chart success in order to make their own style of music.

Unfortunately, the new artwork for the album is poor, the only information on offer being scrawled onto the actual CD.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |

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