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The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place

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Album Review

Explosions in the Sky's second effort takes a more studied, even lush approach to the literate chaos of their 2001 debut. But put on your sad sack thinking cap now, because Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place is a contemplative and heady rush of masterful melancholia. Its six songs are multi-minute, slow motion workouts of gentle electric guitar plucks and subtle/sudden washes of percussion — they're still instrumental, but as lyrical as anything in the indie rock universe. "Only Moment We Were Alone" turns on a simple, melancholy guitar figure, the drums shifting from insistent catch-up mode to a studied march built to introduce the next layered crescendo. Explosions in the Sky doesn't shift as suddenly or jarringly on Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place; the quartet has applied more structural predictability this time out, but is still quick about setting the sad butterflies in your stomach to fluttering. "Memorial" is the album's meditative heart. It begins so quietly, reduced to brittle landscapes of tone. Lightly chiming guitars drift in, like the echoes of church bells off in narrow city streets. Then, like each of the album's movements, it surges forward in a rush, like the overtures of Sonic Youth separated, dried, and ultimately lengthened in the blistering Texas sun. The final blast of distortion and staccato drumming is Earth at full bittersweet bluster. "Your Hand in Mine" ends things as they began, with a pair of determined guitars picking out a melody that's both pretty and pretty damn heartbreaking.

Customer Reviews

Sweeping Melancholy

Instrumentals are sometimes reserved for background music, but it's impossible to ignore the moods and 'stories' portrayed on this album. Each song seems to take the listener somewhere, which is not (at least for me) expected. Explosions in the Sky are quickly becoming a staple in the musical rotation of my home. The album (as most EITS efforts) is very melancholy, but wonderfully so. I highly recommend this album to new Explosions listeners; to those who have already discovered this bands talent, get ready for more of the same. Reflective, moody and fantastic.

Post-Rock's epic masterpiece.

Every genre has it's masterpiece; the album that every one knows and every one loves, whether they are interested in the genre itself or not. For example: psychedelic rock has Sgt. Pepper's, progressive rock has Dark Side of the Moon, thrash metal has Master of Puppets, grunge has Nevermind. Now, post-rock (which is largely unknown except amongst the indie rock community), has it's masterpiece: The Earth is Not A Cold Dead Place. Explosions in the sky has released 2 albums before this (How Strange, Innocence and Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever), but The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place is where they finally reached their maximum potential. On the first listen, it may seem similar to other previous albums (clean guitar notes, marching drums, rising crescendoes and epic mini-symphonies), and it does indeed have all these elements. But this time around, EITS have raised the stakes, by improving on all of those elements, and adding so much emotion into their playing that even with out words, these 5 songs tell stories. That may sound strange, but I guarantee, if you close your eyes, and listen to these songs, you will be able to imagine the stories that EITS are trying to tell. And those stories will be different each person, and for each listen. The highlight of this album is most definitely Your Hand In Mine. The song has some of the most beautiful crescendoes I've ever heard, and once the song is done, you know that you've just heard something magical.

No words to describe this music.

Beautiful music. There can only be one thing i hate the most about there songs is that they end.


Formed: 1999 in Austin, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

With a reputation for scathingly intense live performances, Explosions in the Sky were touted early on in their career as the next phenomenon in moody and dynamic instrumental indie rock à la Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Eventually they became one of the genre's most commercially successful bands, scoring several motion pictures and being featured in countless other films, television series, and video games. The quartet of Texas kids, made up of Mark Smith and Munaf Rayani on guitars,...
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