MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2011|
Posted by: Matt Howard
While most post-rock groups generate popularity within the confines of their genre, Explosions In The Sky has managed to breach the boundaries. The Texas quartet openly detaches itself from its prescribed musical genus, but they are continually categorized by their use of expansive guitar textures as well as their absence of vocals. I must admit, similar to millions of moviegoers, my first experience of Explosions In The Sky was somewhat ignorant. They captured mainstream fascination (mine included) with their sonically emotional contribution to the score of the major motion picture, Friday Night Lights. They've since continued to astonish with their live performances and most recently, following a four-year drought, their sixth studio album, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care.
It's simple to label Explosions In The Sky as a post-rock group. According to the clipboard's checklist, they follow all of the necessary criteria; no vocals/lyrics, and use of multiple guitar rhythms for texture. Their expansion outside of the sub-genre supersedes the nominal, mainstream gap between themselves and their peers. What sets them aside from other post-rock groups is their utility of instrumentation as a narrative and sentimental device. Where bands like Mogwai produce instrumental spectacles of mind-bending hypnotism, the lyrical absence in Explosions In The Sky's melodic tales is nearly unrecognizable. This significantly assists in appeasing the audile palates of common listeners.
In Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, similar to all Explosions In The Sky products, the necessity of vocal narrative is substituted by an equally poignant, musical atmosphere. In some ways, this creates an illusion of accessibility that vocalized music lacks. Rather than being forced to closely identify with the singer's personal sagas, the listener is permitted to insert their own experiences that are relative to song tones. This was shown when their rhythmic ingenuity was partnered with the tale of a Texas high school football season.
Take Care, Take Care, Take Care further supports their ease of individual approach. Though only consisting of six tracks, the album is a 45-minute, sentimental adventure. Each song is mapped out as if it was a cinematic storyboard. The introductory track, "Last Known Surroundings", opens with generous percussion. The cheerful overlay of a xylophone-like guitar's tone is contrasted by its partner's alarming scratches. A gentle, acoustic solo beckons the blissfully harmonious climax. "Human Qualities" begins noticeably softer, but its mid-way, 10-second, silent death is resolved with a gratifying eruption of noise. Although achieved through alternative means, each song crests with a splashing upsurge of clamorous harmony.
Explosions In The Sky have reestablished themselves as one of today's most stimulating and intriguing musical artists. They've also recaptured the emotional heights that were lost since their second album, The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place. The unity of this, alongside their advanced dexterity of composing, makes Take Care, Take Care, Take Care one of their greatest achievements to date.