Review Summary: This is not a cold dead album… When you are focusing
Something that will always astound me to this day is how easily one piece of music can move one person with ease while another person can listen to the same piece and find it dull or crappy. While it’s all to a matter of taste it seems there’s that one song or album that you can’t see another person ever hating. That is, until you find someone that does. It just so happens that a long while ago I told one of my friends about this very album, telling her that Explosions in the Sky don’t have a vocalist, to which she replied ‘What do you mean, how can a band not have a singer?’ This is something I find both interesting and annoying, for without backing members to a vocalist there is no band and that just proves how little attention some backing members gain both in and out of the mainstream world. But regardless of all the background about how I’ve come to learn more about music through this band, the truth is Explosions in the Sky wouldn't be the same with a singer, the soundscapes and atmosphere shown on this album are simply indulgent and manage to bring about a sense of place, even when one is confused. If there’s one thing I’ve come to learn from this album it’s that listening to it is all about focus, for without any focus, this could easily be considered a cold, dead album due to its simplicity. But when one decides to focus on the music, nostalgia can easily take over.
It seems to me that the album’s cover is a statement about the world too. Because taking parts of the world in without much focus causes you to forget just how good parts of it are. The wind, the feeling of grass blades against your feet, the waves crashing on the shore of an abandoned beach amongst a beautiful sunset. The times you spent simply looking up at the stars, realizing just how small you are compared to everything else in the entire world. You see, when we get caught up in our own troubles, our own dilemmas, we often forget just how lucky we are to be able to feel, see, touch and think. While it’s a stretch, the small quote that’s sneakily placed on the album cover (somewhere inside) that states ‘Because you're listening’ is really just making a statement about the themes the band attempted to express on this album. First breath after Coma for example, with its instant guitar note being played over and over, begins to shape a sound literally based around a person waking up from a deep sleep and taking in everything that surrounds them. But it can also refer to a near-death experience and having the realization afterwards that you’re really lucky to have survived. All of the songs present one major theme, but can be interpreted in so many different ways because of their lack of vocals. There is nothing to really dissect, there’s no reason for you to dig deep and attempt to figure out exactly what the band is trying to say through the music for it'll cause you to lose interest in the effects the album has. The best way to listen to this album is to simply lie on your bed, preferably a night you have thoughts running through your head and simply let the music direct your thinking. You never know, you might end up crying on your bed thinking about how easily you’ve let the world slip by you.
The world has never really been a cold dead place, but without focus, it seems a lot like one.