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


Explosions In The Sky


Post Rock/Math rock

2.84 | 58 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

Neu!mann | 2/5 |


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