Quick Review (LP): The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place by Explosions In The Sky

Explosions in the Sky
The Earth Is Not a Cold, Dead Place
Temporary Residence; 2003

My Rating: A- (83/100)

Best Tracks: "First Breath After Coma", "Six Days At The Bottom of the Ocean", "Your Hand In Mine"

You just can’t go wrong with post-rock + disasters at sea.

NOTES

  • "First Breath After Coma" is a serious "WOW" moment. One of the best tracks of the last decade.
  • I recall reading that this is a concept album based on the Kursk submarine disaster. Tragic and brilliant.
  • Sounds like active sonar, guitars pinging all over the place. Active sonar sounds a little more spooky in real life though.
  • Great moment: the meter change in the middle of "Six Days…" So mournful.
  • Come to think of it, track 3 is a brilliant little narrative. Love the way it dies out in the middle, and then picks up with a waltz.
  • On the subject of the Kursk disaster, there’s a very moving film on Netflix by National Geographic about submarine disasters. Part of the story follows a young Russian couple that was very much in love when the husband died in the tragedy. "Your Hand In Mine" reminds me of their story.
  • I can’t call all the songs perfect, but they are so considered and well constructed that bonus points are due.
  • This record is like one seamless and epic song. I love the fact that there are five parts, sort of like the five acts of a great story. One of these days, someone needs to make an otherwise silent, accompanying short film for this album.

ATTRIBUTES
Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (4.5/5)
Consistency (4/5)
Songs (4.5/5)

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Quick Review (LP): Those Who Tell the Truth…by Explosions in the Sky

Explosions In The Sky
Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever
Temporary Residence Limited; 2001

My Rating: B (68/100)

Best Tracks: "Greet Death", "The Moon Is Down"


Standing on the edge…

NOTES

  • Whereas their debut was all about landscapes and the wonder of the open sky, this one is overwhelmingly mortal and full of dread.
  • Opens in a hardcore wash. “Helloooo…..”
  • They are a bit tighter here than on their first effort, but they still haven’t PERFECTED that sound.
  • This is their most punk record, in the sense of it not being afraid to rush headlong into musical mayhem at times. At the very least, that causes this record to stand out for me.
  • Nice sample from The Thin Red Line on "Have You Passed Through This Night?" That rifle shot about scared the ghost out of me.
  • There’s no centerpiece here, and this is not their best effort in terms of coaxing amazing sounds out of their guitars. Still, it is a powerful record at times, and it’s certainly worth exploring.
  • It’s certainly appropriate to call this a fated record, what with the band’s name, the album cover, the liner note ("This plane will crash tomorrow"), the release date just prior to 9/11. It’s funny how many indie rock milestones coincide with that day. Wonder if we are just so sensitive to it that everything seems a coincidence? Still, you gotta admit it’s spooky.
  • Pitchfork really likes this one. And, oh yeah, this has got to be the most record reviewing-est record review I’ve ever read. All the big words = smart dude, right?

ATTRIBUTES
Cohesion (5/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (3.5/5)
Concept (4.5/5)
Songs (4/5)

Quick Review (LP): How Strange, Innocence by Explosions in the Sky

Explosions in the Sky
How Strange, Innocence
Sad Loud America; 2000

My Rating: A (86/100)

Best Tracks: "A Song For Our Fathers", "Magic Hours", "Look Into The Air", "Remember Me As A Time Of Day"

The humble, 8mm beginnings of the blockbuster post-rock instrumentalists.

  • Although their sound isn’t fully developed yet, "A Song For Our Fathers" shows that they know where they want to go in terms of mood.
  • They don’t sound HUGE  and GLORIOUS yet, but they sound more than competent, and their vision shines through.
  • "Look Into The Air" is gorgeous.
  • If I could rename this record, I might call it "Songs of the Noble Slacker."
  • I really love the elemental nature of this album. From the song titles, obsessed as they are with light, dark, sky, and time, to the music, all percussion and chiming guitar, each of the tracks here is like its own strand of thought, hard rock haiku if you will.
  • Landscape rock hasn’t sounded this good since Another Green World.
  • The first in an unbroken streak of brilliant and beautiful album covers.

ATTRIBUTES
Cohesion (5/5)
Consistency (4.5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (4.5/5)
Songs (4.5/5)