Explosions In The Sky
All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone, 180G Black Vinyl 2LP
While alphabetized post-rock record collections find Explosions in the Sky slotted neatly between Do Make Say Think and Godspeed You Black Emperor!, and although the music is suited to the same contemplative mood, these Texans are more workmanlike than their Canadian peers, more like artisans than artists. The aforementioned post-rock ensembles like to tinker with musical narrative like the post-modernists they are, and for every bold crescendo, an incongruous tangent can disrupt the music's linearity. But EITS works with classical narrative arcs-- tension and release, conflict and resolution, fatigue and redemption-- producing records that provoke both the satisfaction and the ennui that attend their time-honed methods.
All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone is no exception, trafficking in the obvious and preordained. As always, elongated guitar shapes contort through various stages of dim shimmer and blinding incandescence. As always, you could fit the esoteric instrumentation through the eye of a needle. As always, the action unfolds with the adrenaline-rationing precision of a big-budget action flick, with climaxes that feel at once thrilling and safe, constrained by the four borders of a figurative screen.
It would be pointless to discuss this album on a song-by-song basis, since each funnels different permutations of chords and changes into the same inflexible template. It would be like trying to describe Legos by talking about helicopters and fortresses instead of brightly colored blocks of interlocking plastic. So let's consider the template itself. The foundation of EITS's aesthetic is the marriage of raw power and delicate beauty, and they've definitely honed the formula to weapon-caliber impact. The quiet parts, dominated by trembling strands of silvery guitar, are unaccountably tense, while the screaming guitar meltdowns they always lead to retain a pleasant lullaby quality, so that each mode holds the other in balanced suspension. There are the inevitable moments when one guitar breaks free from the others to slam home a more direct version of the song's melodic theme, and the climactic freakouts that inevitably signal the song's impending deconstruction.