For Fans Of
Alongside This Will Destroy You, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and the criminally underrated duo Collapse Under The Empire, Explosions In The Sky ARE indeed one of the best, if not the best-known, post-rock bands out there. It really is absolutely no contest, people.
This Texan quartet’s discography is filled to the absolute brim with musical gems that fans of the genre can love and appreciate, and even those who aren’t aficionados of the instrumental/post-rock genre. Sure, their music can be pretty formulaic at times, however when it’s this consistent and solid, you never really seem to mind. But now, let’s enter ‘The Wilderness’. Before we move on, we will say this much: This is not the Explosions In The Sky you know and love, it’s something much deeper, and it’s what ‘Take Care, Take Care, Take Care‘ wanted to be – and so much more.
Songs like ‘Disintegration Anxiety’ are the antithesis of the “beautiful” music that the band is known for crafting. This song is a large, distorted yet melodic track that snowballs until it reaches a – you guessed it – climatic and emotive finish. The same goes for ‘Infinite Orbit’ and, just like current bands combining nu-metal with down tuned riffs, it just works on so many levels. On the flip side, ‘Logic Of A Dream’ starts off like your typical EITS song – clean guitars, reverb, delay and all – then this grand, wobbling synth drops in and the song takes on a whole different tone before it changes once again in the final stretch. ‘Colors In Space’ is a sonic affair of dreamy, synth pads that eventually become this dark mesh of swelling low-end bass and samples, all tied together by an acoustic bass, before it ominously ushers in the soft and touching finale, ‘Landing Cliffs’. Much like the album’s wonderful second song, ‘The Ecstatics‘, this is one of the few tracks that really embody that “classic” Explosions In The Sky sound. In fact, the delivery in all of these songs is just a powerful as ever.
Trust us, you will be bathed in a wave of emotions and feelings during your time with this record.
Perhaps it goes without saying but this record is quite a different beast altogether and it isn’t as accessible as some of the band’s earlier work was (well how accessible can post-rock be, anyway?). We definitely know that the core fan base will still enjoy it, even though they’ll probably grumble under their breath about it, as it still has plenty of grandiose moments and that signature EITS songwriting stamp is all over this record to a near meticulous degree. From the epic swells and emotive climaxes to the grand instrumentation, and to those sweeping soundscapes that swallow you and your ears whole; it’s just not delivered in the band’s normal format and that is a-okay with us!
Finally, once you’ve listened to the album a couple of times (hell, just once will do), head on over to the album’s website and stream the album there, which has each song accompanied by a still shot taken during the past 17 years of the band’s career. These pictures (all of which have had some added colour effects done to them to move along with the song) really do add to the tone and feel of each song, and it’s pretty cool to have some accompanying art to ponder over and go “Hmmm yes, quite”.
Intellectuals, we are…but since this writer didn’t swear once in this review like he normally does – fuck.
To the die-hard fans that wanted another “crescendo-core” (patent pending) post-rock album, take your hipster outfits and look elsewhere. ‘The Wilderness’ is a more experimental and different effort than the usual brand of post-rock that Explosions In The Sky have provided in droves over the years, but it is nonetheless a terrific record. Still… this ain’t got shit on ‘The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place’, but then again, few albums do!
2. The Ecstatics
3. Tangle Formations
4. Logic Of A Dream
5. Disintegration Anxiety
6. Losing The Light
8. Colors In Space
9. Landing Cliffs