Album: Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
It’s more than a little clichéd to refer to post-rock as “epic” or “cinematic” but few adjectives better describe the near tangible presence of an Explosions in the Sky song. The Texas-based four-piece seem to have a copyright over the sound of marching snare rolls set against delicate layering of guitar. Their range has shown little divergence since 2000’s How Strange, Innocence but this lack of variety has done little to damage their popularity. You know what to expect from Explosions, it’ll be all crests and troughs building to a screeching climax. This predictability should render the music somewhat stale but the fact is they write damn good tunes, just ask any fan of Friday Night Lights.
Take Care, Take Care, Take Care is the bands first release since 2007’s All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone, and you get the feeling the niche to which they have limited themselves is finally getting a little cramped. It’s not that this six track LP lacks the quality of the previous five but for the first time there is a distinct feeling of deja entendu. When adhering to such a tight framework, there’s only so much re-arranging of sound and re-tuning of guitars that can be done.
Third track ‘Trembling Hands’ sticks out like a sore thumb as the “something new.” It’s by a distance the shortest track, clocking just 3.31 and is the only offering of vocals on the album. Much like Mogwai’s recent voyage into unknown territory, this experiment takes away from an otherwise solid post-rock compilation. Almost as if in a rush to get back to what they do best, ‘Trembling Hands’ takes the established Explosions in the Sky blueprint and speeds it up with the questionable, or perhaps more accurately, unnecessary inclusion of vocals.
The other five tracks all work their magic in their own way. ‘Postcard From 1952′ takes two minutes to find its voice before coming to life in a celebration of guitars with the incessant crashing of cymbals. Album closer’ Let Me Back In’ grows more engaging with every listen while ‘Human Qualities’ playfully pokes and jabs before delivering a spectacular knockout punch. The stats read five tried and tested tunes to one experimental and five triumphs to one disappointment. Take Care, Take Care, Take Care is a consuming post-rock album but falls just short of the heights reached by The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place and All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone, unlike those LP’s this one shows signs of a band confined to sound which is running low on room for creative expression.