Review: Explosions in the Sky – ‘Take Care, Take Care, Take Care’ (Temporary Residence)

Posted: April 18, 2011 in Reviews
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Reviews of Explosions in the Sky’s 6th LP (if you count ‘The Rescue’) have been wildly fluctuating.  The Skinny has this record pegged as a career-defining best, while The Organ claims that it’s an album that they will ‘probably never ever have the urge to ever go back to it when there’s so many other things we could pull down from the shelf and partake of’.  Drowned In Sound have chimed in too, inexplicably comparing it to strawberry ice cream, or something equally as stupid.

To be fair, the accompanying press notes don’t do any favours either mentioning body pecrussion and Japanese singing bowls, while claiming that the band have taken giant creative leaps with this record.  Which is quite ironic, given the fact Explosions have backed themselves into a corner with their inherently pretty, but one-dimensional instrumental sound, over the course of their career.  On ‘Take Care…’ this Texan quartet has, at least, come out fighting and are taking chances, rather than rehashing older ideas — which I found to be a problem on their last LP ‘All of a Sudden, I Miss Everyone’.

‘Trembling Hands’ (available for free download) is their attempt at some sort of commercial single and it works for the most part, with its fast-paced staccato percussion, obscured but infectious vocals and driving guitars,  it’s certainly different from what’s gone on before.  ‘Be Comfortable, Creature’ is also alive with new ideas, with the band purposefully taking their time and letting the song breathe amidst some gorgeous guitar interplay between Munaf Rayani and Michael James.  ‘Human Qualities’, though, errs on the side of caution, sticking a lot more closely to their tried and tested sound, but adds some haunting, muted chants and electronics amongst the beautiful guitar parts and pitter-patter drums, before wasting such progress with one of those tiresome crescendo’s so typical of the instrumental music scene.  Likewise, closing number ‘Let Me Back In’ shows off some progressive moves and more excellent guitar work  before hitting yet another cul-de-sac of tired quiet/loud dynamics.

If  ‘Take Care… is your ‘ first time experiencing Explosions in the Sky, I would imagine this would be quite wonderful, but if you’ve grown up with them particularly during their classic ‘Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever’ and ‘The Earth Is Not A Cold Place’ periods, then this won’t sound all that much different.  It’s pleasing to see them taking chances, but that ‘giant creative leaps’ statement proves to be a false dawn, this is more a step in the right direction.

As a side note, the vinyl edition of ‘Take Care, Take Care, Take Care’ features some of the most fantastic packaging ideas I have yet come across. Order it here

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