Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Explosions In The Sky

Post Rock/Math rock

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Explosions In The Sky How Strange, Innocence album cover
2.84 | 59 ratings | 14 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. A Song For Our Fathers (5:42)
2. Snow And Lights (8:17)
3. Magic Hours (8:29)
4. Look Into The Air (5:30)
5. Glittering Blackness (5:30)
6. Time Stops (9:55)
7. Remember Me As A Time Of Day (5:27)

Total time 48:50

Line-up / Musicians

- Mark Smith / guitar
- Munaf Rayani / guitar
- Michael James / bass
- Christopher Hrasky / drums

Note : The actual instrumentation could not be fully confirmed at this moment

Releases information

Artwork: Esteban Rey

CDr Sad Loud America ‎- SLA 001 (2000, US)
CD Temporary Residence Limited ‎- trr 85 (2005, US) Remastered by John Golden

2LP Ruined Potential Records ‎- FTK 01 (2004, US) New cover art. Exclusively for the 2004 tour

Digital album (2005) Remastered by John Golden

Thanks to useful_idiot for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY How Strange, Innocence Music

More places to buy EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY music online

EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY How Strange, Innocence ratings distribution

(59 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (24%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY How Strange, Innocence reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3,5 stars really!!!

EITS's debut album is certainly an impressive start but by all means is not quite an innovative to say the least. Their sound hovers between GYBE!, DMST and Tarentel. Since those three groups are already close enough sound wise, was there really a need for yet another post-rock outfit? I am not sure the answer is positive although EITS has many things going for itself, most notably a rather impressive guitar front, more concise "song" writing and do make albums that hold fewer flaws than the master of the genre do. Fewer flaws but also fewer highlights too: no irritating lengthy film dialogues and tighter song structures, but a lack of depth (in spite of the great guitar) and therefore musical dynamics, and no spine-chilling crescendos (GYBE! still being a reference) and no string section.

I would say that the interest of EITS is that they take a proved formula and erase the flaws and they also have some really endearing artwork sleeves (this one plus their third album Earth INACDP) but lack a real original and personal artistic statement. Simply a déjà-vu - or rather a déjà-entendu feel!!! And this in itself is enough to make it lose enough credit as not be essential.

Review by Philo
3 stars Initially this album was only available though Explosions In The Sky gigs but has since been issued so those who have become drawn to this Texas outfit on a wider scale, like myself, can get a taster of what the band sounded like on their debut effort. And as it is, it is a good one too. Judging from the albums that have come since the recording of this one, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever and The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, the band have grown and progressed from the release of How Strange, Innocence, in 2000. While the recording may well be minimal and the sound may be not completely developed the potential is certainly there. The album is packed full of guitar anthems, slow moving passages with lots of emotion. "A Song For Our Fathers" starts off with the sound of what I can only believe is a Huey, so we get landed right into the landscape of a war and then captivated by the bands soundscape as they weave though simple and melancholic bass and guitar lines, both electric and acoustic before fading out with that distant chopper sound... Much of the intros to the tracks on this album can come across like eighties alternative/indie rock music songs, but with a pulse. And it is never too long before the band drift through what can now be deemed Explosions In The Sky music, as opposed to just sticking them under a post rock banner, for which the can easily fit if need be. "Magic Hours" may tend to be repetitive but it is never boring, as it swoops through clean instrumental lines that are building and ebbing all the while. What does draw the album back somewhat is the sparse production where there can often be a lack of sonic dynamics, which in turn is part of the indie like sound. But songs like "Magic Hours", the moving "Glittering Blackness" (with touches of good Mogwai) and the excellent and anxious "Time Stops", fortunately, transcend this. How Strange, Innocence if a fine album. It does not have the constant playability of The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, but then, what does?
Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars How strange, a band with innocence. And indeed, innocent this album is. A naïve sound, with somewhat pure melodies created by this quartet, evoking emotions with their instruments, in a way not many bands can, with an all instrumental outfit. The melodies this band creates are so beautiful and mesmerizing. The music may sound sad but it is only part of what EITS does. Their songs are, as a matter a fact, filled with hope, and yes joy even, a scarred music that seeks the brighter side of life. A music that shows the pains that people endure, and yet it does not despair and continues onward with the hope of regaining that which has been lost and taken away.

With post-rock I can't escape the feelings that fill me when I listen to it. EITS especially conjures in me those sensations not many others do. This album, even though not their best, is a special favourite album of mine. It is an album to take away with you when you want to relax, meditate, wander off, be alone, watch the sunset, see the sunrise. It is amazing that those four guys create such rich musical themes with such few instruments. What I love about this band is that each member has the opportunity to be heard and not only that, but to show and express his musical abilities.

It starts oh so mellow, with the bass guitar emerging with this simple yet captivating tune. Then the two guitars follow, electric and acoustic join in and the music is released to the air. They continue to spiral over the starting tune the bass determined to be the main theme of the song which is a "Song for our fathers". At 3:08 there is a slight change in the tune and the guitar starts playing an enchanting melody that invites the drums to play louder than up until now. Snow and Lights has a beautiful ending part in which the two guitars and the drums create this fast musical bit that creates an elated feeling, making you want run against the wind. Magic Hours has a beautiful part from 3:28 to the end. It begins very softly with the guitar alone playing a simple tune and then all join slowly and quietly until the climax, which is awesome. Look into the air is as soft as a usual quiet rock song but it is a nice tune nonetheless.

I don't think music can be successfully described, and it is not supposed to I guess. Anyway, I am not good at describing it, so I will cease, and tell you this: I know other fans say that this is their weakest work and it is still not ripe. I do not subscribe to this view in full. I think this album is showing great talent and potential and that both are fulfilled to a large extent in this record. It is true that in the following albums they have progressed and moved on. But the foundations are already here. The improved EITS you hear on "Those Who Tell The Truth." and "The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place" is indeed better sounding and created more complex music, but it does not diminish one bit from the virtues of this album and it does not make it any less good. I believe it is an album worth getting and listening to. It is more than worth it, it should be listened to and appreciated. Then, when you listen to their following records, your enjoyment will increase, you will see how much they have evolved and you will understand where they came from. It is however a 3 star rating I give this album, as I want to differentiate between my personal and emotional feelings towards it (which constitute my great appreciation of this record) and the neutral and judgemental approach I have towards it (which represent my criticism towards it). Therefore, if I want to let people know what this is like, then it is a good album albeit non-essential.

Review by 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, recorded an album . They had been together for about seven months but had yet to secure a recording contract. It took only two days to record the album, and a further 2 days to mix and master it. 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.

Review by ClemofNazareth
2 stars So this is a reissue of Explosion's first effort, I suppose put back out to capitalize on the band's modest popularity. Apparently the band (to their credit) were not overly supportive of recycling this novie effort. And with good reason, as it is definitely not on par with their later work, and especially not nearly as inspiring as the brilliant Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place.

The twin guitars here give off the same type of positive vibe as their other works, but here the musicianship is quite plain and simple, particularly on the final four tracks. The repetition gets a bit monotonous after a while, and I failed to find much to distinguish one track from another, so it doesn't seem worthwhile to comment on each of them individually. Frankly, the guitar riff on the first track seems to be repeated with only very slight variation on every other song, with the modest exception of "Look Into the Air", which even manages to be lighter and more meandering than the rest.

Also, the drum/bass rhythm seems to be unintentionally out of synch with the guitars on a progressive frequency as the album wears on, and by the final track "Remember Me as a Time of Day" there doesn't appear to be any connection between the two.

I'd like to find something more positive to say about this album, largely because I think this is a band that has improved rapidly in the past half-dozen years, and shone particularly well on Earth is Not..., but this is not a strong album, and I don't think it is indicative of their later work or of their potential.

Definitely a disc for collectors and fans of the band only. Two stars.


Review by OpethGuitarist
2 stars Innocence indeed.

Not exactly the most confident of records, this album is filled with many obvious shortcomings. The band fails to achieve the "ocean of sound" that is often a staple of the genre with little convincing. There is a general plainness to the majority of it, with little expansion on ideas.

The first track is probably the best on here, with the most endearing melody and coherent song structure. What else is there? Not much. We have some pretty bad guitar tones, uninspired drumming, riffs that lead to nowhere, and the typical signs of any band just starting out.

The band's naivety is more or less on full display here. I would not start here to get into post-rock or this band. There are far better albums to look for.

Review by sean
3 stars This is the debut album of Explosions in the Sky, and I think the lack of experience does show, as does the fact that it took two days to record. While there are many good ideas, the album does sometimes seem to lack a good sense of flow, and the build ups so important to post rock often feel awkward because of this. Musically, the album has much in common with other bands of the post rock movement. It tends to be slow and mellow, although I find EITS a bit more uplifting than their counterparts in bands such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor. I'm not an expert on the subject, but that is my opinion. I'd have to say my favourite song here is Remember Me as a Time of Day and Snow and Lights and Magic Hours are quite good as well. There's nothing overly original or brilliant here, so even though I don't have any of their other albums I would recommend newcomers to start with The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place or All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone based on the samples offered on this site.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars How Strange, Innocence is the debut album from post rock band Explotions in the Sky. The album was released in 2000.

The music is generally slow paced and subtle but builds towards climaxes in typical post rock style. The instrumentation is very simple and the interplay between the two guitars is one of the most important features on the album. Both bass and drums also contribute greatly to the sound though. The music is purely instrumental. A good example of how Explotions in the Sky sounds like on How Strange, Innocence is Magic Hours which is a song that starts out very subtle, builds and ends with a distorted climax.

The musicianship is good allthough nothing special. This is not the most challenging music I have ever heard.

The production is very stripped down. Two guitars, bass and drums. It could have been recorded live and it would probably have sounded the same.

I can´t say I enjoy this album much. This style of music bore me. I´m a way too busy person for music this subtle and quite frankly I don´t think much happens in the songs. Yes the songs build with new layers but the basic idea in the songs doesn´t really change much throughout the song. More than one time during the playing time I feel my focus shift towards other things than the music and that´s always a bad sign. I´ll rate this album 2 stars, but this is really not worth my time and had the compositions or the playing been any less accomplished I would have made this a 1 star rating. It´ll take a while before I will be able to muster the strength to review the next album from the band.

Review by Neu!mann
2 stars Using the word "innocence" in the title was a modest way for the Texas quartet of Explosions in the Sky to appraise their own recording debut without saying "naïve" or "amateurish" (the latter not always a negative term, by the way). The band members don't even consider it their first album, but rather their "first attempt" at making an album, a subtle distinction printed alongside other mixed feelings and misgivings smack-dab on the label of the CD itself.

That almost apologetic attitude isn't entirely unjustified, either. For a band now celebrated as Post Rock icons it was an inauspicious beginning, which of course only makes it more attractive in an academic sort of way. Collectors and completists can approach it as a living embryo in the EitS fossil record, captured at the primitive, single-cell stage of its musical evolution.

The twin-guitar instrumental sound of the album won't be unfamiliar to fans. But the performances are tentative, as if the players were still getting acquainted with each other. You can expect a few goofed notes, not always played by mistake: in the halfhearted climax of "Snow and Lights", and during the somewhat awkward intros to "Magic Hours" and "Glittering Blackness" (the song titles already showing signs of what would later become a trademark visionary ethos). A few studio tricks were attempted, most likely out of curiosity: a random reverb effect here, some clumsy fuzzed guitar there, and so forth. And nobody told drummer Chris Hrasky that his enthusiastic cymbal bashing (in "Time Stops") would totally overwhelm the contributions of his bandmates.

It might be kinder in retrospect to hear the effort as the band's earthbound rehearsal before ascending into the sweet hereafter of upcoming albums. The hackneyed cliché about a journey beginning with a single step applies here; ditto the old maxim about learning to crawl before you can walk. The Explosions team was still on infant hands and knees while making this album, and unsure of its collective balance. But the young group was at least toddling in the right direction.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
2 stars EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY started out under the name Breaker Morant in Austin, TX in 1999 but soon changed their name and wasted no time in releasing their first album HOW STRANGE, INNOCENCE in 2000. Originally only with 300 copies released in the form of CD-Rs, the album has since been remastered and released as a full-fledged album. I have this newer version and it even dons a much prettier album cover of a nice blue landscape with a little edifice and strange looking clouds hovering above.

While i love post-rock, i am quite underwhelmed by this debut. EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY implies some kind of explosive excitement in its band name but there seems to lack any such thing on this debut. In fact this is pretty much post-rock by the numbers and to me sounds like Mogwai light. The album incorporates a lot of the post but seems to leave out the rock on this one unlike their future releases. What we get are some nice and pleasant guitar riffs that play on and on and reach a climax but nothing on this one really satisfies.

This album was released in 2000 well after other post-rock greats like Godspeed! You Black Emperor and Tortoise were doing much more interesting things. If you are a fan of minimalism then you may like this one but i just find it a tad underwhelming. The variety is almost nil and the mood building episodes notorious of post-rock doesn't build many mountains, but considering this music comes from the moderately hilly landscape of central Texas, then i guess it perfectly suits the band's surroundings. A pretty average album in my book. 2.5 rounded down

Latest members reviews

4 stars When I think of Explosions in the Sky. I think polished guitar oriented post-rock with no vocals, and slow buildups. This is a good quick description of their best album 'The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place'. This album is much more raw. It still is guitar oriented and there are no vocals, but ... (read more)

Report this review (#173052) | Posted by digdug | Wednesday, June 4, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars There are no bad moments or boring moments on this entire album! It is constructed beautifully and all the arrangements are catchy without boring you to death with repetition. A Song For Our Fathers has to be the best Explosions in the Sky song recorded to date and it does a great job of suckin ... (read more)

Report this review (#161300) | Posted by dfg | Friday, February 8, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I once read an interview with a few of the Explosion In the Sky members where they were asked if they would ever put vocals and/or lyrics to their music and their response was "We'll start putting words to our music when we run out of ideas for our music". And with this statement in mind, I have ... (read more)

Report this review (#81258) | Posted by theblastocyst | Friday, June 16, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Really pleased with the whole album, a masterpiece for its own time, I felt that it not only expressed many emotions, but conquers the stereotype of music that is today. of it, so i found this album as an amazing transformation in music's persona. The band seems to have ALOT of talent, and i ... (read more)

Report this review (#66900) | Posted by | Thursday, January 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY "How Strange, Innocence"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.