Rotation: Explosions in the Sky

Categories: Rotation
Like bombastic fellow Austinites . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Explosions in the Sky set out to make albums as big as Texas, but in their hands the goal seems somehow more modest. Though they fit their musical ideas into outsized settings, the core of these ideas is simplicity itself: harmony. The best example on All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone of Explosions' talent for sheer harmonic glory is "It's Natural to Be Afraid," a deceptive thirteen-minute expanse that is actually two songs in one. Each one meanders through its respective harmonic study, the first minor, the second major, both expanding across shifting guitar timbres in an achingly slow dance that seems almost Baroque in its patience. Explosions in the Sky are the Pachelbel of 21st century rock, and like that famous canon, their music is resplendent, even when it goes on and on, and especially when it is loud, both of which are the case frequently on Everyone.

After the jump, find out about Explosions in the Sky's "asymmetrical multi-part structure."

In that respect, Everyone is in good company with the rest of the Explosions in the Sky discography, the majority of which uses big-sky post-rock to exactly the same effect. Those not intimately familiar with the band's oeuvre will be hard-pressed to distinguish Everyone from any of Explosions' other records, just as those not well-acquainted with the genre probably have difficulty telling Explosions from the other bands, from Mogwai to Mono to Maserati, that explore very similar territory. There may be an attempt to deal with this problem on "Catastrophe and the Cure," which uses an asymmetrical multi-part structure to create uncharacteristic tension. In general, however, All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone lacks the thrill of the unexpected that would make it truly powerful and important, settling instead for being merely beautiful. The question consistently raised by Explosions in the Sky is whether beauty is enough. -- Daniel Mee

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