Explosions In The Sky and David Wingo
Prince Avalanche


2.5
average

Review

by Alex Beebe USER (126 Reviews)
August 27th, 2013 | 48 replies


Release Date: 08/13/2013 | Tracklist


Post-rock is a genre that is better suited on soundtracks than most other genres simply because of how cinematic and primarily instrumental the music is. The blueprint of earth-rattling builds and crescendos that post-rock artists abide by makes for perfect music to score a wide range of dramatic moments such as heartbreak, tragedy, and victory against impossible odds. Explosions in the Sky are no newcomers to the realm of soundtracks, and it’s necessary to mention their work as film score composers on the Friday Night Lights motion picture soundtrack for this very reason. Friday Night Lights saw Explosions in the Sky constructing the music they would regularly create on their own studio albums -- due to how well their brand of post-rock suited the initial television program incarnation of Friday Night Lights with their piece “First Breath After Coma” -- so their collaborative score with David Wingo for Prince Avalanche in comparison, marks the first time that the band is morphing their regular design to suit the film itself.

The Prince Avalanche soundtrack showcases Explosions in the Sky greatly reducing the approach of building up to grandiose heights that fans have become accustomed to, and opting to spread the expansiveness of their sound out around them instead. The resulting changes are anything but subtle, as Explosions in the Sky do sound different; so different in fact, that they barely sound like themselves at the majority of points. This soundtrack may be refreshing for anyone who has grown wearisome of the loud repetition that Explosions in the Sky have continued to produce on their studio albums, as the band has never been this calm, meditative, summery, and deducted to frailty before now. This kind of music suits the overriding vibes of Prince Avalanche atmospherically, but with all the grand-scale ravaged shots of scenery in the film, the epic sense that Explosion in the Sky’s signature astronomical post-rock compositions bring would have been more than a perfect fit, and the significant lack of that kind of music on this soundtrack unfortunately can’t help but feel like a missed opportunity more than anything else.

Being post-rock titans, Explosions in the Sky typically don’t shy away from tracks that exceed 10 minutes in length, but the tracks on Prince Avalanche show a lot of restraint on the band’s part, with most songs barely making the 3 minute mark. This is very minimal music for Explosions in the Sky all around; it’s predominately led by acoustic and ambient elements, and these gentle and delicate mood pieces display little to no indication of the swift progressive pacing that is usual for the group. The absence of that and the inclusion of an ambient direction can be attributed to composer David Wingo, and is evident in how the contributions from both of these artists are anything but equally balanced. In an ironic sense, much like the two men of very much opposite personalities in the film itself, Wingo and Explosions in the Sky’s opposing sounds don’t work together as well as they could. The main issue is that Wingo covers the droning ambient department of the music here, and regardless of how well drone music and post-rock have gone hand-in-hand in the past, what Wingo brings to the table doesn’t feel like anything Explosions in the Sky have shown on their past albums that they could have done themselves. Furthermore, since Wingo’s subdued drone music is allowed to lead the show, and Explosions in the Sky have promptly benched their soaring scope in order for him to properly do so, this collaboration doesn’t feel like it’s fairly shared. Explosions in the Sky are maimed and weighed down to earth by Wingo, seemingly too cautious of over-powering him.

When all is said and done, there’s really not outright interesting music to be found here. These are very short and sweet compositions that lack the urgent sense of direction, and cascading emotion that Explosions in the Sky could have provided them if they were to flourish as opposed to remaining as limited as they are here. It’s a fine example of two opposite sounds not coming together with smooth success, and while the drone music Wingo specializes in is a genre that has never called for recognizable traits, Explosions in the Sky suffer from an immense lack of identity on this. This is different than any type of music they’ve produced so far for sure, but it’s a refrained grounding rather than a reinvention or a pushing of their boundaries, and it’s really up to fans to determine how much the difference is worth if the group virtually sound nothing like themselves, and nowhere near what they’ve demonstrated to be fully capable of.



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user ratings (27)
Chart.
2.9
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
minty901
August 27th 2013


2084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album is absolutely lovely. maybe a 4. look forward to reading this review.

breakingthefragile
August 27th 2013


2966 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Some of the meatiest paragraphs I've forged yet. So yeah, this really was nothing like I expected, and not in a good way.

Digging: Molly Drake - Molly Drake

minty901
August 27th 2013


2084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i think their beauty still shines through. even though it's nothing like their usual style, you still hear their essence in it, or at least i do (i think dear madison in particular starts of with a very melancholic eits-esque texture). i think it's better than take care, take care, take care. i also love the recurring motif of the theme tune in different moods and atmospheres throughout the album, like Rain for example.

IslamicPenguins
August 27th 2013


72 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Agree a lot with the review, EITS is my favorite band, and this was underwhelming/not really a record worth pressing to begin with.

Calc
August 27th 2013


12370 Comments


I got this vinyl too now I'm sad.....

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
August 27th 2013


10383 Comments


Nice work, man. I particularly loved the first paragraph, as it discusses the thing about post-rock I like the most. I've always enjoyed how cinematic it is, and how it paints such vivid images in your head when done right. Good job of analyzing this record, and how it meshes with the film at hand.

Digging: Thou - Heathen

Tyrael
August 27th 2013


20971 Comments


'The Prince Avalanche soundtrack showcases Explosions in the Sky greatly reducing the approach of breathlessly climbing that fans have become accustomed to, and opting to spread the expansiveness of their sound out around them instead of building it up to grandiose heights like they typically do.'

You're basically saying the same thing twice, and in one sentence to boot

breakingthefragile
August 27th 2013


2966 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@Tyrael Thanks for pointing that out, I'll fix that asap. And cheers to whoever featured this review!

deathofasalesman
August 27th 2013


5871 Comments


Great movie but I can't imagine the soundtrack holding any weight on its own.

breakingthefragile
August 27th 2013


2966 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, I agree that's definitely the case here. The movie itself was beautifully filmed and acted, but what's unfortunate about this is that a band like Explosions in the Sky would have had the ability to construct a score that could stand on its own without the film.

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
August 27th 2013


6201 Comments


Cool that this movie is based on a movie made by a dude named sigurrosson and LOOK WHO DIDN'T DO THE SOUNDTRACK

Probs because they were busy making the best album

UnnamedOcean
August 27th 2013


3980 Comments


"Great movie but I can't imagine the soundtrack holding any weight on its own."

Well that's because it's supposed to work with a film. I don't understand why people try to think of soundtracks in the same light as albums.

mindleviticus
August 27th 2013


8331 Comments


these guys are a one trick pony band

sexpoi
August 27th 2013


599 Comments


well, sometimes one trick is all you need. I haven't heard this yet, but if everyone says it's different their usual work you should check it out because, obviously, if you would have comprehended the review correctly, you would have realized that he states that this is not their normal album

sixdegrees
August 27th 2013


17723 Comments


no

Digging: Sputnik - Christmas At Our House

breakingthefragile
August 27th 2013


2966 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@UnnamedOcean There are plenty of soundtrack albums that can be listened to and enjoyed the same as you would with any regular music album.

Freddey
August 27th 2013


135 Comments


Nice review, most post-rock bores me, except godspeed you, there awesome.

Calc
August 27th 2013


12370 Comments


they're*

breakingthefragile
August 28th 2013


2966 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

As always, I have also posted this very same review on Media Snobs, so yeah, promotional insert time:

http://mediasnobs.com/music-review/explosions-sky-david-wingo-prince-avalanche-ost/

TheSupernatural
August 28th 2013


1293 Comments


Hey breaking, if you could rec just one song from this release, what would it be?



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