After a lengthy wait of four years, this Austin, Texas, instrumental band returns with six compositions of dynamic grandeur. While this new full-length album is not likely to shock listeners familiar with Explosions In the Sky’s previous work, its quiet spaces can be challenging, even avant-garde. Overall, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care is an engrossing and impressive collection of songs that at once highlights the band’s strengths and emotional depth, while also revealing an exploratory spirit.
The opener, “Last Known Surroundings,” an atmospheric mid-tempo rock song drenched in feedback and delay, is simply gorgeous. Like the other longer tracks on the album, it comprises different sections that enable the band to move through dynamic moods. Its eventual motif of three descending notes repeated in a spacious shoegaze context is oddly reminiscent of Don Henley’s 1980s classic “Boys of Summer.” The influence of beloved 1990s English shoegaze band Slowdive is in evidence here, too: the use of delay pedal is deft, creating ornate curtains of melody. The second half of the contemplative “Human Qualities” moves into an up-tempo rhythm with notes in rapid succession, recalling the cadences of the hammered dulcimer. “Trembling Hands” uses an insistent single-note loop of staccato human-sounding “ah” vocalism, which is unusual for the Explosions. The effect recalls the ethereal-but-rocking post-punk bands of Britain in the 1980s, such as The Sound and Comsat Angels. Beginning with quiet and pretty guitar phrases, “Be Comfortable, Creature” is a compassionate composition eventually employing lovely legato tones via the EBow (a gadget you hold up to the strings to produce an arco or bowed effect, a favorite of Galaxie 500 and Luna guitarist Dean Wareham and, before him, Robert Fripp). “Postcard From 1952” is true to its title, not that it sounds like fluffy Eisenhower-era pop but rather it nostalgically evokes a golden era, one of bliss and beauty and light. The melodiousness of the guitars recalls the fetching arpeggios of The Smiths’ Johnny Marr. It employs a shimmering melody, evoking the more wistful moments of The Smiths’ Louder than Bombs (Rough Trade, 1987), and builds to a powerful, stunning conclusion.
That Explosions In the Sky is able to create the potent range of affects and atmospheres that they do here is a major accomplishment. The band truly works together as an ensemble to pursue a common emotional or aesthetic goal. It is truly assuring this band exists and that they make the engaging, beautiful music that they do and that they have had a forum to explore and create and reach me and you.Visit: Explosions In the Sky | Temporary Residence
Purchase: Insound | eMusic