After 2003’s The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, Texan post-rockers Explosions In The Sky appeared to hit a creative block. The follow-up record How Strange Innocence, released two years later, was merely a remixed version of the group’s first, privately issued album. And the autumn 2005 tour of the UK saw an almost identical set list to the one presented a couple of years earlier.
After four years, the group have unveiled their fourth album. Although the basic formula of lengthy, fairly stately instrumentals dominated by chiming guitars is little changed, the sonic pallet has been widened with the addition of piano. The most striking thing, though, is how seamless the CD feels – more like a suite than a collection of individual tracks. This is not to say that all the tracks sound the same, but that the thing flows organically from the blistering, wall of sound opener “The Birth And Death Of The Day” to the pastoral conclusion of “So Long Lonesome”
Explosions In The Sky may work in the (over) familiar area somewhere between Godspeed You Black Emperor’s apocalyptic romances and the more prosaic quiet/loud dynamics of Mogwai, but unlike so many of their peers they avoid many of the cliches inherent in this kind of instrumental rock and exude a real warmth.
The limited edition with a bonus DVD flew out of the shops in the matter of a couple of days, resulting in an unlikely chart entry for the album. A special mention also should go to the band’s regular artwork provider, Esteban Rey, whose superb nocturnal post-deluge scene befits the music. The artist’s depiction of the first world war legend of the appearance of the Angel of Mons on the cover of the Those Who Tell The Truth album is one of the very best covers of the past decade.