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Explosions In The Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care CD (album) cover


Explosions In The Sky

Post Rock/Math rock

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Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Take Care Take Care Take Care' - Explosions In The Sky (8/10)

Four years since the release of their previous album 'All Of A Sudden, I Miss Everyone', the Texas post-rock band Explosions In The Sky makes a return. Four years is a long time for any active band to wait between albums, so there's been a lot of tension and anticipation as to what the band's work would look like after such a long time on the dressing board. Personally, I have considered Explosions to be the peak of the standard post-rock scene ever since I heard their masterpiece 'The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place', and with this latest album entitled 'Take Care Take Care Take Care', I am hearing many of the same sounds that made this band a winner in my eyes initially. However, what small experiments they have made with their sound often make me wish that that the band could have left out the painful details in the sound.

Emotionally dynamic compositions, drawn out instrumental builds and clean guitar soundscaping is what is most greatly heard here; something that listeners will already have been familiar with, should they have listened to anything this Texas post-rock quartet has released in the past. As with all good bands however, there is certainly a development one can hear in the sound, especially when compared to the minimalism of 'The Earth...'. First among these is the use of much background ambiance and atmospherics, be they strange effects, or dazed vocals droning on behind the guitars. Whether the band was trying to pull a Radiohead and come off a bit experimental in their sound, it is not something that the band orchestrates well here. The distorted feedback of the guitars adds tension to the lighter moments, but many of the electronic nuances feel as if they only distract from the main attraction here; being the guitars. 'Be Comfortable, Creature' only makes the Radiohead comparison more apparent, using weird electronic loops under the guitars, which does work well to some extent, but robs the band of what I consider to be their signature, minimalist style. Another fairly weak aspect of their sound here is the adoption of ambient vocals, as can be heard most frequently on the third track 'Trembling Hands'. Hearing a slightly off-tune 'uh, uh, uh, uh' being sung throughout longer sections of the song can get fairly tiring and really take away from what is otherwise a really great Explosions album.

Of course, the focus here is on the guitars and central composition of the music. Although still with alot of the same mellow sound they have had with earlier work, it does feel in parts as if they are trying to trim the fat off at cut to the point faster. In a genre that's becoming quite notorious for taking ages to say something simple, this works in the band's favour. 'Last Known Surroundings' builds the album up for a minute or so, and then really gets started with an optimistic and beautiful riff over the beating of drums and backing guitars. The 'single' (also a lower point of the album) 'Trembling Hands' takes only a few seconds to start going full force. What makes the music here great though, is that we are given the same beautiful dose of melancholic, soaring attitude that the band has built itself on, but with a greater maturity to it. Things here are not so well intentioned as they were on 'The Earth...' but the music here is filled with beautiful riffs that really gives the impression of love embodied through sound.

A last note worthy of mention for 'Take Care Take Care Take Care' is that the long moments of silence throughout the album, at times taking up to a minute to get back into music during a fade-out. For the music that is here though, Explosions In The Sky is really proving what I thought of them all along; that they are always capable of making something beautiful out of quite little.

Report this review (#418288)
Posted Saturday, March 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The latest album from Explosions in the Sky is nice collection of post-rock music. The album is brief for its genre (just over 45 min), and it stays rather safe during that time. The track that stands out most to me is Trembling Hands, with its energetic drumming pushing forward the music. Although the album is certainly sweeping in its scope, there is neither much experimentation nor buildup, and at times it feels more like indie rock with a slight post-rock influence. In any case, the music is relaxing and well-put together. A great album for any post rock fan.

Rating: 7/10

Report this review (#451384)
Posted Monday, May 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Two years after its release the latest album by the celebrated Austin, Texas quartet still hasn't attracted much attention in these pages, despite being arguably their best effort yet. No new ground was broken here, but the group continues to mature, building their panoramic Post Rock epiphanies with a little more variety in style than usual, and showing a better developed sense of nuance as well.

The music as usual presents a dynamic contrast between serenity and noise, but this time around the balance is more organic and the transitions much smoother. "Be Comfortable, Creature" (I'd love to know how they invent such evocative titles) opens with a delicate moodiness worthy of early GENESIS, gradually lifted into the big skies of West Texas on an updraft of laser beam guitar sustain recalling a young Robert Fripp enjoying a Rio Grande vacation. Two tracks later the album closer "Let Me Back In" offers a quintessential EitS apotheosis, but with an atypically swinging rhythm underneath.

Those huge, booming drums are still an acquired taste, in songs like "Trembling Hands" and "Last Known Surroundings" all but obliterating the adjoining frequencies. Maybe there wasn't another way for percussionist Chris Hrasky to compete against the wall of sound generated by three electric guitarists, but the album improves when the production exercises more restraint, as in "Postcard From 1952" or the gentle waltz-like intro to "Human Qualities".

There continues to be something attractively transcendental about this band and its music: an unspoken striving toward the empyrean light of whatever plateau you choose to recognize as heaven. As suggested by their collective moniker the experience is often beautiful, bright, and very loud, animated by an eloquence sometimes lacking in the music of kindred Post Rockers with a similar agenda. This collection of six songs, four years in the making (and worth every minute of the wait), brings them one step closer to paradise.

Report this review (#929155)
Posted Wednesday, March 13, 2013 | Review Permalink

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