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Album Review: Prince Avalanche [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] by Explosions in the Sky
Fairly Good, Based on 12 Critics
Drowned In Sound - 80 Based on rating 8/10
Prior to the release of 2011’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, Explosions In The Sky began to speak of change. They wrote a little differently, isolating themselves individually in a bid to change up a proven, if limited formula. They talked of experimentation, of different styles and flourishes never before associated with their output. In the end, the changes were effective if slight –‘Trembling Hands’ unusually immediate, some vocal flirtations and Godspeed-like samples peppered about here and there - no grand redesign, their sixth studio effort a fine if familiar offering.
Although their cinematic post-rock has been used as soundtrack material in the past, having served as the backdrop for Friday Night Lights as well as countless television appearances, Explosions in the Sky's collaboration with David Wingo finds their sound taking on a whole new shape on their original score for the David Gordon Green film Prince Avalanche. Wingo, a frequent collaborator with Green, brings a subdued ambience to the table, reigning in Explosions in the Sky's crescendo-laden sonic expanses without subduing their plaintiveness, giving the whole album a feeling that's more contemplative than cathartic. Conversely, the Austin quartet add a sense of gradually building momentum to Wingo's quiet drone.
Over the course of 14 years as a band, Explosions in the Sky have earned their reputation. Usually, the only words you’ll hear from them in concert are delivered before and after they play their set, opening with a greeting from Munaf Rayani and concluding with a farewell. On some occasions, when the audience has not been properly initiated, Rayani will come back out following encore requests and explain why they don’t perform encores, acknowledging that those who have been with them before know the score, and those that haven’t, well they couldn’t possibly reach the heights they had already attained in just 10 minutes.
Since it doesn’t appear on the CD or LP copies of the Prince Avalanche original soundtrack, this disclaimer is important: this is not an Explosions in the Sky album. Unlike Mogwai‘s score for the French prime-time zombie drama Les Revenants, released earlier this year, Prince Avalanche OST is a significant enough of a departure from Explosions’ (de)crescendo-centric style that it doesn’t merit the studio LP label. (Les Revenants is not technically classified as such, though it certainly feels that way.) Inevitably, much of the draw of this album comes from the involvement of the band, especially considering the indelible mark it left on the music for the film and television iterations of Friday Night Lights.
The sprawling instrumental rock of Explosions in the Sky has so often been called "cinematic" that it's easy to forget they've done little actual soundtrack work. One reason may be that their music, where intricate layers of effects-laden guitar build to cathartic crescendos, threatens to overshadow any but the hardiest onscreen action. It's all well and good for the colliding shoulder pads of Friday Night Lights, but harder to imagine as fodder for the subdued character beats of a David Gordon Green film.
New Musical Express (NME) - 60 Based on rating 3/5
Prince Avalanche is a US remake of a recent Icelandic film, in which nothing much happens to two road-marking painters. It’s a vehicle for Paul Rudd to be self-consciously indie, so instrumental rock blusterers Explosions In The Sky feel oddly apt soundtrackers. That said, the 15 pieces here bear little resemblance to the quartet’s normal moderate riffs and telegraphed crescendos – fellow Texan David Wingo can probably take credit for that.
Explosions in the Sky create arguably their least cinematic collection of songs for David Gordon Green's latest film, Prince Avalanche. Teamed up with fellow Texan David Wingo (a frequent contributor to Green's films, as well as frontman for Ola Podrida), the instrumental giants abandon their trademark crescendos and euphoric melodies to explore the softer side of their work, which is often overlooked. Lonely piano lines craft moments of introspection ("Hello, This Is Your House"), shimmering guitar riffs never develop beyond their first thought ("Dear Alvin") and the majority of 15 tracks sit below the two-minute mark.
Explosions in the Sky scored a new film. Of course they did. The Austin instrumental post-rock group struck gold both creatively and exposure-wise with their unlikely pairing with adapted film-turned-NBC series Friday Night Lights. The band’s flair for dramatic swells can make sitting in a chair feel like climbing Everest.
For the soundtrack to indie director David Gordon Green's new film, Explosions in the Sky compact their wide-horizon guitarscapes to fit composer David Wingo's minimalist orchestrations. But as EITS's music for Friday Night Lights proved, they really need a stage as big as a football field..
If you cut a slice out of forthcoming film Prince Avalanche, it would read “Texas” through and through like a stick of rock. Director David Gordon Green (George Washington)was raised in the state, while those responsible for the soundtrack – Green’s long term collaborator and composer David Wingo of Ola Podrida and post-rock veterans Explosions In The Sky are also natives of the lone star state. The film is also, of course, set in Texas, and it seems sharing background and experiences have had a hand in creating something bespoke Texan for our eyes and ears in the form of Prince Avalanche: An Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.
Let’s start this off with some disclosure: I haven’t seen Prince Avalanche. And judging by the bits and pieces of information afforded by various online sources, chances are I never will. The terms “dramedy,” “dialogue-driven” and “developing friendships” kept creeping up during the research phase of this review, and if all you want to do is watch a steroid-ravaged Sly Stallone aim M-80s at the collective tibia and femur bones of Southeast Asia or man fight self-aware machines, Prince Avalanche ain’t the place you’re gonna find admittedly violent and implausible action scenes.
Explosions in the Sky & David Wingo Prince Avalanche: An Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Temporary Residence) Austin's Explosions in the Sky has become synonymous with Friday Night Lights: evocative, West Texas expanse and moments of sheer triumph. The band's first of two planned collaborations with Ola Podrida's David Wingo (the second being Al Pacino vehicle Manglehorn), Prince Avalanche all but abandons that signature sound. Instead, the soundtrack to David Gordon Green's slacker comedy works on a smaller scale, capturing fleeting moments in a series of reflective interludes that often pair long, sustained notes over plucked acoustic guitar.