The new album by Explosions in the Sky came out earlier this week. It’s called “Take Care, Take Care, Take Care” and it is excellent.
There’s always a special thrill to a first listen of a new album by a favourite band. It has a reassuringly familiar sound but also exhiliratingly different and fresh – what are they going to come up with next? I had a couple of listens on my way down to Glasgow for work on Tuesday (hence the otherwise unrelated photo at the top of this post). In EITS’ case, they came up with a thoughtful, energetic almost mournful offering that is up to, if not beyond, their usual standard. It has only six tracks, but with all bar one coming in at over seven minutes, you’re certainly not short-changed.
The first track, Last Known Surroundings, is a beautiful intro, with a slow, tense almost stadium-rock build up that gives way to some almost ethereal, Sigur Ros-esque guitar noises and a rhythm that gives a pulsating spine to the song. The follow-up, Human Qualities, starts out as a brighter, sweeter waltzy tune (EITS’ best tracks, for some reason, are in my mind those that are in 3/3 time: I don’t know why, but that metre seems to give their music a rhythm that captures and draws you in especially strongly), at least to start with, switching over halfway through with a near-sinister break to a more edgy, atmospheric melody that builds to a frantic cruscendo. Then comes Trembling Hands, a short, catchy burst of energy; giving way to a more gentle tone in the fourth and track (Be Comfortable, Creature, and the particularly beautiful Postcards from 1952). The finale, Let Me Back In, starts unusually – it’s one of the rare EITS tracks to have a voice sample – but gives for a rousing finish to an excellent album.
The album creates a soundscape evocative of discovery, mystery, innocence, wanderlust and is a little more alive and upbeat than their previous albums – which of course are mostly brilliant in their own way and their 2003 album “The Earth Is Not A Cold, Dead Place is probably in my top three or four albums ever).
It’s good to know that EITS have the capacity to keep delivering after all these years, and I can’t wait to see them live in Edinburgh next month.