REVIEW: Explosions In The Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

explosionsinthesky

Artist: Explosions In The Sky
Album: Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
Genre: post-rock
Label: Temporary Residence Ltd.

Explosions in the Sky should need no introduction, as purveyors of some of the most affecting, beautiful instrumental music going. Their works are temperate and ambient, gentle and melodic, infused with real depth and tenderness so that even when just playing in the background, they somehow find a way to bury deep into your conscious and touch your soul. This latest album is no different – though technically an EP of six songs, the songs are for the most part so lengthy and intricate that it feels more diverse and sprawling than your average full length.

“Last Known Surroundings” is an expansive, quirky beginning. It features slightly odd, almost wild reverberations at the outset before fading into a more traditional EITS-style rolling beat and luminous melody. This steady undercurrent hosts a delicious, twinkling series of notes that filter through the repetitious base to add a touch of wonder and adventure to proceedings. It feels very much like the optimistic beginning of a voyage, with its hallucinogenic sound effects and the tender, hopeful plain of guitar notes.

“Human Qualities,” which follows, is quite subdued by comparison. It opens faintly, using the same barely-there ethereal effects and thrills to soothe and inspire. This is another lengthy song, and quite vivid and diverse throughout. After a few moments, the fragile opening fades away to a beautiful choral hum, and all falls silent except for one throbbing, yet barely distinguishable, drum beat. It livens up then, gradually building fervor and momentum, before unleashing an urgent sprawl for the final minute and a half. The light guitar twangs are still the most striking element, but the engrossing and atmospheric sounds behind them are essential in adding layers of wonder to the song.

“Trembling Hands” is the one short song on the record – it clocks in at three and a half minutes and remains suitably urgent and forceful throughout. The various levels of instrumentation, used to telling effect as always, create here a more striking sense of potency, of panic even, as the strings and unearthly ambience are set to a strangely unnerving, repeated choral sound. It’s an example of the band using the detail of their work to craft something more explosive, as rather than focus on exposition and storytelling they throw everything in at once, causing a kind of temporary madness as everything bursts and collides together. “Trembling Hands” is a standout in its relatively brief, urgent tremors, and for those of a more impatient disposition will grab attention much faster than the lengthier songs.

“Be Comfortable,” Creature is so delicate and tender it sounds like a wordless love song. It feels endlessly romantic, with idealistic and dreamlike quivers of notes, played over and over again with endless grace. Compared to some of the more intensive melodies seen elsewhere, the softness of this song throughout is comforting. It speaks quietly, but vividly, and may indeed be the album’s best.

“Let Me Back In” is ghostly, with an echoing, indistinct vocal twinge at the start that sounds a tad reminiscent of some of Dead Can Dance’s simpler compositions. The tone of this ten-minute opus is invariably melancholic, the saddened guitar twangs playing delicately off one another to formulate something lost but not forgotten. As ever, the song starts off deceptively, in a reserved manner, only to burgeon and intensify as a cloud spreading across the landscape. The folds of ambient and strings swell gradually in the background to make the song darker and more intensive. Reflective moments are interspersed with unsettling, siren-esque sounds and the aforementioned otherworldly vocals. This gives the song a captivating quality, as even when it stills it manages to absorb in its entirety.

Take Care, Take Care, Take Care is nothing new for the EITS catalogue, but when your trademark is such dazzling beautiful music there’s simply no point in changing. This is a lush, gorgeously realized album. It’s unobtrusive, for those days when you just want some casual accompaniments, yet rich and nuanced enough for those in search of genuine exploration. It makes for beautiful listening and given its instrumental nature, is very much open to one’s own interpretation, which should allow everyone to find something here they love.

Score: 10/10
Review written by: Grace Duffy

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • dan

    thanks4the,review

  • Audiodivine

    Great review, but since you reviewed the album per song, you forgot to review the song “postcard from 1952”, so please review that too. :)

  • Tsos Josue

    What happened to “postcard from 1952”? that was by far my favorite track.
    great review nontheless 10/10 for me too