Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
Explosions In The Sky
Release Date: Apr 25, 11
There’s a lot of debate in some critical circles about whether “cinematic” should be an adjective used to quantify or judge music. Those in favor say that there’s a very specific kind of grandiosity and atmosphere that only such a word can describe. Those against would say that this is a conflation of genres of art (however you’d like to quibble over shades of meaning for that particular idea), and that music is an entirely different experience. This all having been said, if ever there was a band that breaks such a debate wide open and truly stands as a quintessential definition of cinematic music, Explosions In The Sky are that band.
On Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, their 6th full-length (not counting their soundtrack work for the film Friday Night Lights), EITS explore some of the more interesting fringes of their sonic palate, one which has already covered a lot of ground as the broad edges of post-rock go. On opening track “Last Known Surroundings,” Chris Hrasky’s drums take on a punch that’s often missing from a lot of the band’s guitar-heavy mini-symphonies. With opening atmospherics reminiscent of some of Radiohead’s work on this year’s The King of Limbs, that slowly move into a groove that’s both oddly danceable and linear for a tandem that’s often as angular as EITS, it’s immediately established that Take Care is a different beast from that which has come before. By the end of said opening, however, there’s the inevitable crescendo into sonic Valhalla that Explosions do better and more distinctively than any of their post-rock peers that came before or have since.
Take Care is also one of their best records, start to finish, in some time. This is easily their best since 2003’s The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, but there’s even more to take in here. From the quiet lilt of “Be Comfortable, Creature” to the propulsive stomp of “Trembling Hands,” Explosions are getting at a lot more than just loud-quiet dynamics here. “Trembling Hands” is also a surprise among surprises, for the opening chanting; on both that track and album closer “Let Me Back In,” Explosions dabble in something resembling actual vocals, even if they’re breathy in the former and nigh incoherent in the latter.
Everything strong about Take Care can really be summed up by “Postcard From 1952,” which begins with the plinking guitars that Mark Smith, Munaf Rayani and Michael James have coined over the past ten years or so, only to rise into a soaring cacophony, and then settle back into the dust again. Explosions In The Sky are the true masters of their medium at present, and the insistence of a record titled Take Care, Take Care, Take Care speaks to what the band have long said: They are out to stir the emotions of their audience. In a time that’s so uncertain in such myriad ways, it’s nice to know someone is looking out for us.