Explosions in the Sky – The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place

EITS_TEINACDPThe tools with which Explosions in the Sky make their sound have been available almost since the beginning of rock & roll. Their first three albums consist of two guitars, drums, and bass, with some distortion and delay. Their rhythms and melodies are straightforward, eighth- and quarter-notes, nothing like the neo-jazz Tortoise and many other post-rock outfits play. This is rock & roll, and it proves, as if it had to be proved, that rock & roll is a language, not just a collection of idioms. New things can be said in it, if only one has enough imagination to say them.

The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place is the product of stunning musical imagination. The band’s second album for Temporary Residence is a quantum leap over their already superb label debut, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever. Earth eschews its predecessor’s metal textures and occasional aggression for soaring beauty: the main guitar sound is a bell-like chime, not a deep crunch. Throughout, songs transcend the simple post-rock formula of crescendo-crash-crescendo-crash by demonstrating just how you can increase intensity without necessarily increasing volume or even tempo. The post-climax of “First Breath After Coma” draws the listener in by slowing down, and even as “Memorial” draws to a shattering conclusion, all the power of the music comes from the interplay of the guitars and the drums, not some sudden, blistering bout of punishing speed metal.

If grief had five stages and made you fall in love, it would be The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place.

Rating: A

About Kent Conrad

To contact Kent Conrad, email kentc@explodedgoat.com