Release Date: Feb 20, 2007
Record label: Temporary Residence
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Instrumental
The instrumental Texas quartet Explosions in the Sky proved long ago that they don’t need words to tell an arresting story. On All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone, their fourth LP (and their first since recording the score of the 2004 film Friday Night Lights), guitars, pianos, and drums build from trancelike hushes to violent peaks before collapsing back into quiet; the band runs through intricately nuanced compositions with the fervor of an inspired jam session. The emotions they evoke keep resonating well after their last notes die down.
After reshaping the post-rock territory with their last album, The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place, Explosions in the Sky are staking their claim to Mogwai's dark kingdom with an album that, despite being only six songs long, takes prisoner of your head and your heart. Opener The Birth and Death of the Day erupts like a volcano, before, like day succumbing to night, the undulating rhythms and high, chiming melody fall to a twinkling calm. It's Natural to Be Afraid is an epic battle between fear and hope that ends in anxious optimism.
There is little middle ground for an instrumental post-rock band like the Austin, TX-based Explosions in the Sky. Endlessly compared to Mogwai -- who can make aggressively angry music when they want to -- this quartet consciously seeks what is meandering and beautiful. If there is a strategy behind their music as revealed by 2001's Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever and 2003's The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place, it's that beauty seeks tension to resolve itself and find itself even in seeming chaos.
Review Summary: Explosions in the Sky release yet another solid release, even if it is a tad of a let down in my own eyes.Explosions in the Sky are usually included with the big three groups of post-rock, Godspeed You Black Emperor and Sigur Ros. Where they lack the decisively political angle of Godspeed You Black Emperor and the vocally driven lushness of Sigur Ros, they’ve cleared themselves a large niche by creating extremely simple and emotional post-rock staples. Their releases “Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live” and “The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place” are almost always name-dropped as examples of the post-rock genre and they are full of highly emotional and epic moments.
Explosions in the Sky have blown up quietly. There wasn't much buzz behind them when they released their last proper album, The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, in 2003, and their work since then – the lion's share of the soundtrack for Friday Night Lights and an EP for Temporary Residence's subscription-only Travels In Constants series – has been treated less as a next-big-thing than as a best-kept-secret. Their stock has risen consistently, but that's the odd thing: their eminent stature in the post-rock genre, their importance to it, owes as much to like-minded acts who have invoked the Austin quartet as a point of comparison as it does to their own inspired but ungenerous catalogue.
Unlocking Explosions in the Sky's instrumental code requires neither the scientific method nor classical training. Guitar technicians won't necessarily have the delicate upper hand. Emotions are the only essential. All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone, the Austin quartet's fourth proper album, follows four years of not following up 2003's Vivaldiesque, The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place.