Release Date: Apr 26, 2011
Record label: Temporary Residence
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
This instrumental quartet from Austin specialize in a highly disciplined enchantment: echo-laden orchestral-guitar rock as specific as Bach in its circling concentric melodies and as steadfast as AC/DC in its push to ecstasy. The group's fifth studio album glistens with episodic rigor, climbing through clockwork chiming and treble staccato to a peak of shredded-Byrds jangle in "Postcard From 1952." There are sly shocks, too. "Be Comfortable, Creature" is nearly all hovering suspense, threaded with liquid-drone guitar, while "Trembling Hands" is three and a half minutes of bright, fast power rock, proof that this band can also go from sea level to mountaintop and back in a hit-single sprint.
Explosions in the Sky’s sixth full-length wastes no time in covering well-worn methods: “Last Known Surroundings” betrays a seething underbelly with bright guitar wails and martial drums; “Be Comfortable, Creature” does the same, only slower and brighter—“Let Me Back In,” too, but backwards. Effective as ever, really, but it’s “Trembling Hands”—think Broken Social Scene, beardless—that feels like the most urgent thing this band’s ever recorded, a past and future commingled ecstatically. It’s familiar but refreshing, evidence that a dinosaur genre like “post-rock” can still sound vital.
Like their home state of Texas, Explosions in the Sky are all about wide-open spaces, preferring to leave the landscape as it is rather than trying to fill every last bit of empty space just for the sake of doing so. It’s this aesthetic that sets the band apart from the busier bands in post-rock and, really, rock in general. Doing more with less, the band continues to deliver rousing, lonely epics on its sixth album, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care.
It is tempting, when speaking about the music of Explosions In The Sky, to get diverted into biographical details. Details not of the band, but of the listener, of moments made more vivid by the accompanying soundtrack of this most emotional of instrumental ‘post-rock’ groups. Programming oneself and one’s CD player to wake up to the slow crescendo of “First Breath After Coma,” for example, or plugging in the earphones and wandering the streets of the city to a soundtrack of Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever.
Elegant yet progressive, Explosions In The Sky are as wonderful as ever... It’s been a long time since the excellent ‘All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone’, and with the proliferation of outstanding ambient and drone records that have emerged during the interim, it’s perhaps questionable whether the Austin four-piece remain relevant. And certainly not a great deal has changed.
I guess if you're going to name your band Explosions in the Sky, you better sound fucking huge. And, well, these Texans have surely managed that much, at least. Their epic sound has always felt like it came more from a rock orchestra than a four-piece band. They're also a particular kind of band: The kind where on one hand you know exactly what you're going to get with a record, and on the other hand, you are wholly surprised by how fresh they manage to keep their sound.
There’s a moment on “Human Qualities”, the second track on post-rock titans Explosions in the Sky’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, where the militaristic drums slowly fade out and silence seeps into the mix—a moment where you just know the band is about to explode back into volume with an assault of ringing guitars and pounding toms. Only, it doesn’t happen. Instead, the song drifts into ambiance, with softly clattering—and programmed—percussion melting into reverb-laden clean guitars and completely fluid bass tones.
Four years ago, Explosions in the Sky ended their last album with a short (for them) song called "So Long, Lonesome". It was pretty and melancholy, not so unlike a lot of their other music, really, but as its title suggests, it had the feel of a goodbye. It seemed so final. But no, the Austin quartet is not done.
Review Summary: Unquestionably the best album named Take Care in 2011. There are a lot of people out there who've decided that for Explosions in the Sky to keep doing what they're so good at isn't enough; that while the AC/DCs and Aerosmiths of the world were allowed to get off scott-free with churning out the same album over and over again, and Sigur Ros and Godspeed very rarely see any criticism for their minimal development between records, Explosions shouldn't be given the same breaks. It kinda puts them in an impossible position, doesnt it? Give the fans what they want and get slaughtered by every two-bit music critic desperately looking for something interesting to say, or branch out and risk alienating the fans while still getting laughed at by the critics you'll never please?Take Care, Take Care, Take Care feels like the first album where EitS are directly responding to the haters.
If you’ve ever watched any amateur documentaries on anything to do with the mysteries of the universe, the chances are you’ve heard Explosions In The Sky, or at least something similar. There’s a good reason for this: the band are masters of creating a sound that hints at something much bigger than ourselves. Without lyrics to guide your thoughts, it’s down to you and your emotions to decide what it’s all about - and it can be quite a trip.
Post-rock bands are often described as producing soundtracks to non-existent films. If Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, Explosions in the Sky’s fifth LP, were to soundtrack a film it would be a rather summery and feel-good affair, probably full of attractive actors experiencing whirlwind romances and getting in touch with themselves. It would be the kind of film to make you smile, but maybe not one that would live too long in the memory.
Explosions in the Sky return with trademark bombast on their sixth studio album, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, but a quick listen would suggest that the Austin-based band seems more interested in lending their work a broader instrumental edge beyond their mainstay of soaring, eruptive guitar hooks. After all, the bell-like guitar sound and pounding drum combination that the band has perfected over their career has slowly been forced to share room with other elements: The introduction of piano on All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone marked the first noticeable move away from their usual guitar singularity, and with Take Care, a smattering of vocal accompaniment and some experimental ambience have both taken up substantial supporting roles. Of course, quick listens can often be deceiving, especially with a band as measured and purposeful as Explosions in the Sky.
Explosions in the Sky has always been a self-fulfilling prophecy. Since its very first flier ("Wanted: Sad Triumphant Rock Band"), Austin's signature post-rock outfit harbored an indisputable, trademark sound: crisp, translucent guitar sagas of apocalyptic proportion, with artillery command and euphoric release. The aural cinematography of the group's first two LPs, 2000's How Strange, Innocence and Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever in the next year, introduced the local phenomenon – guitarists Munaf Rayani and Michael James, auxiliary bassist/guitarist Mark Smith, and one-man drum line Christopher Hrasky – before the arc of 2003's The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place achieved rare perfection.
Another splendid set of graceful and gripping instrumentals from the Texan quartet. Mischa Pearlman 2011 Texan quartet Explosions in the Sky have been leading lights of their genre since forming over a decade ago. Crafting songs that, true to the band’s name, burst like collapsing stars in the darkest night (after prolonged and intense build-ups of swirling soundscapes), they’ve become one of post-rock’s archetypal bands.