Review Summary: Explosions in the Sky continues their recent trend of adding slight changes in their sound while maintaining the same formula they've come to be known for.
Explosions in the Sky (EitS) is a fairly well known (at least in the post-rock genre) instrumental band that creates simple and emotional songs. One of their strengths is taking beautiful yet chaotic facets of life and translating them into music. Their latest release, judging by the album title (All of a Sudden, I Miss Everyone) and depressive Van Gogh-influenced cover art, focuses on loneliness and longing. The song titles seem to corroborate this, with allusions to a passing day, ghosts, fear, saying goodbye, and questions of what (or who) someone returns home to at the end of the day.
EitS's music typically involves melodic upper-register guitar picking, dramatically crashing cymbals, rolling snares, and crescendos galore.
“The Birth and Death of the Day” starts off with soaring guitar strumming before regressing into the typical Explosions in the Sky fare with tidally-paced cymbal crashes and guitar picking. The highlight of the track is the crescendo around the 4 and 5 minute mark. It bursts through the music, sounding like the break of day and inducing goosebumps like an early morning chill.
“Welcome, Ghosts” continues the trademark EitS sound with a catchy guitar line that is repeated throughout the song, yet the drumming is significantly more intense than the standard EitS track.
“It's Natural To Be Afraid” is a brooding, expansive, 13 minute epic that could be the soundtrack to walking through a foggy, deserted town until the sun starts shining through and you find what you were looking for.
“What Do You Go Home To?” is a hauntingly stark piano ballad. The name of this album evokes feelings of loneliness and longing; this song pushes those feelings down your throat and makes you feel what music is supposed to be about.
“Catastrophe and the Cure” is a more upbeat track, with a typical EitS song structure leading to a crescendo that you can see coming from a mile away.
“So Long, Lonesome” closes the album with a wistful piano-based song that lets the album finish with a sigh rather than a bang.
The problem with Explosions in the Sky is that they have perfected a musical formula and refuse to deviate too far from that path. Granted, in this album they add more piano, guitar melodies, and guitar effects into the mix, but the basic structure remains the same. If someone played a random song from EitS's discography, most people likely wouldn't know from which of EitS's 5 albums it came from. There's an unsettling homogeneity in all of their songs. This isn't an incredibly bad thing, since EitS do make some of the most beautiful rock you will ever hear, but sometimes bands should deviate from a sound that they've been working with for years.
Check Out: “The Birth and Death of the Day,” “It's Natural to Be Afraid,” “What Do You Go Home To?”