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Explosions in the Sky | Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place | review | alternative | rock | Lollipop

Explosions in the Sky

The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place (Temporary Residence Ltd.)
by Brian Varney

Maybe it's because I'm in the middle of a hellish Western bender, but when I listen to Explosions in the Sky these days, I keep imagining what beautiful accompaniment these songs would make to the Monument Valley landscape that provided the backdrop for so many of my favorite movies. It's not so much that the epic instrumentals these four create lend themselves especially to Western scenery as the fact that they evoke beauty and emotion in deep, broad strokes, so don't let my comparison scare you away if you hate Westerns.

Perhaps a better and more apt comparison would be to the music of Godspeed You Black Emperor, who tend to paint on bigger canvases with more equipment but tug in similar ways nonetheless. Truth be told, I probably prefer this band to that one, simply because the music on The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place is simpler, more efficient, and more pure in its evocation of formless beauty. GYBE's music is more complicated (a combination of live instrumentation, found audio, field recordings, and other stuff), more grandiose, and more ambitious (there are no words, but even a passing glance at the cover art and liner notes to one of their releases lets you know just how desperately it is that they want to tell you whatever it is you're doing wrong). Explosions in the Sky, on the other hand, is a smaller but more well-oiled machine (just four members playing standard rock instruments), the highs perhaps not as high, but the overall appeal much less concrete and, therefore, much more universal. The sort of abstract beauty you'd expect from songs with titles like "First Breath After Coma" or "Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean." There's no brow-beating here, only vastness and beauty which you are free to explore at your own leisure.
(PO Box 11390 Portland, OR 97211)

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