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How Strange, Innocence

Explosions In the Sky

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Album Review

How Strange, Innocence was recorded a year before Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever, the eventual breakthrough for Austin's Explosions in the Sky. But this 2005 Temporary Residence release is the first many will hear of it, since the original pressing was only a few hundred CD-Rs. It's an interesting listen for fans of the group, as it incorporates the layered guitar melodies and deliberate volume shifts of later EITS work but unfolds with a brittle uncertainty that reveals the band's brief lifespan at the time. Sometimes it sounds like a recital, as if Chris Hrasky, Michael James, Munaf Rayani, and Mark T. Smith, having learned their parts painstakingly and over time, were debuting the songs for an audience of proud parents. In "A Song for Our Fathers," brittle electric guitar notes find the melody over brushed snare and a stoic bassline until the song locks into a louder but still lingering groove, like a sleepwalking Pixies, while "Time Stops" builds from a gentle stroll to a storm of crash cymbals, shadowing vintage Bedhead in the din. The songs here are long — nothing's under five minutes — and Explosions in the Sky overuse some of the same effects that give their material strength. "Magic Hours," for example, is only a preamble to "Time Stops," glimmering, then building, then exploding at the usual pace. But despite some predictability, How Strange, Innocence shows remarkable tact for a band that was so unseasoned during its recording. As the ambitious "Snow and Lights" proves, they were already hashing out the pacing issues, heroic scope, and striking melodic sense that would define later releases.

Customer Reviews

Mr

It is not their best effort, but it's their first, and for that credit is given for one reason...Magic Hours! If you do not get the album get that track, but i would not dismiss it all together, it is a classic Explosions sound, its emotive and it is a collectors peice, but Magic Hours, one of their best tracks ever.

Exceptional Debut Album

This is a great debut from EITS. A more acoustic and measured sound than their later albums but each track brings a magnificent and insistent guitar rhythm that build and grows and finally explodes in a loud and crashing segment. Thoroughly recommend the album. Favourite tracks are Magic Hours and Time Stops.

Biography

Formed: 1999 in Austin, TX

Genre: Alternative

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

With a reputation for a scathingly intense live performance and a quickly sold-out CD-R demo, How Strange, Innocence, which was later reissued in 2005, Explosions in the Sky was 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! The quartet of Texas kids, made up of Mark Smith and Munaf Rayani on guitars, Michael James on bass, and Christopher Hrasky on drums, was signed for its first release on Temporary...
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