Explosions In The Sky
Texan band Explosions in the Sky are apparently some kind of phenomenon. The word of mouth marketing surrounding the band has probably already crossed your path - but if not here are a few facts:
Their songs regularly run on past 7 minutes.
They have no vocalist.
Their 4th album finds the band still on a small indie label (Bella Union)
They sold of London's Koko with the only publicity being a mention on their website
The band use slow building drums and a huge range of guitar sounds construct complex musical landscapes, which grow and evolve before unleashing in a torrent of heavy pounding drums and dueling guitar solos - and on this album the piano is often a key player, particularly on What Do You Go Home To?, which could easily have been the soundtrack to a Michael Mann shoot-out.
While bands like Mogwai have often claimed this style as their own, for me they are frequently distracted by bleeps and twitches, with songs often never quite developing like they threaten too. That is never the case here - with multiple moments of unrestricted release making this one of the most passionate and engaging instrumental albums I have heard in quite some time. It would be hard to singe out specific tracks, and there is certainly very little on here that could work as a single. This is a very much an album which is to be listened to as a complete piece of work. Often structured like a classical symphony, there are multiple moments of repeat, refrain and reprise, making this very rewarding listening which has a comforting warmth and familiarity to it.
Apparently they rock live, and it's not hard to believe - undoubtedly whipping up a lighting storm of volume and feedback of epic proportions, transforming their music into a living, breathing monster. For me however, this the kind of music I like to listen too to put me to sleep. Not because it is boring. Not because it is quiet - which it frequently isn't. Because it is so flowing, passionate, emotional and moving that it is thoroughly engaging, and listening to it focuses my thoughts, allows me to relax and ultimately leaves me happy and exhausted. Brilliant.