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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Explosions in the Sky -- Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

Please excuse the more personal tone of this review, but due to the nature of the music found within, I don't know how else to write this.
After two or three listens, I was willing to dismiss Explosions in the Sky's new album, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, just as I did Radiohead's King of Limbs. This Texas-based instrumental band seemed to have forgetten they were supposed to be making an album, and on top of everything they had even tossed in too many commas. The whole thing sounded too quiet. I even listened to Take Care in the dark with my headphones on to get the best possible effect. Still, I was bored, and I didn't really hear anything I hadn't noticed before. The minute or so of silence in the second track, "Human Qualities," was still silence, and the gentle guitar that comes out of it still didn't get my blood pumping. I went to bed upset that yet another band I had enjoyed over the years had lost their edge.
That morning I woke up with a melody stuck in my head. I realized it was the guitar riff that occurs about three minutes into the fourth track, "Be Comfortable, Creature." I popped the track on and listened to it only to find myself humming another riff from another track as well. The album had gotten into my head like that stupid Rebecca Black song that's gotten 142 million views on Youtube, but instead of wanting to stick my head in a jet engine to end it all while hearing something else, I wanted to live...and listen to Take Care, Take Care, Take Care again.
The genius of this album is that it creates a world for the listener to live in, much as the album artwork can be folded into a house (if you actually buy the physical release and don't steal or digitally download). Instead of six 8-minute tracks with five minutes of build up and three minutes of release, this album just flows. It gets loud sometimes. It gets quiet sometimes. But instead of just relying on loud/soft dynamics as EITS have in the past, and as many of their peers still do, they have created an instrumental album that breaks the mold and just enjoyably exists. Third track, "Trembling Hands," has no build up and is all release. Some tracks have no release at all. The loudest moment employed by ten-minute closer, "Let Me Back In," whose title betrays the literary nature of this music, comes and goes when the song is only half over. You don't want want to turn the track off when the loud parts finishes, though. After several listens, it becomes apparent that every second of every track is vital. This makes for an album one can move past just admiring (as I feel about several of this band's previous releases) to the point of actually loving. The only requirement is to drop the expectation that this will or should be yet another exercise in quiet/loud/quiet/loud dynamics. Take Care does its own thing, and in the long run fans of this band are only better off because of it.
On a final note, there are also some samples, loops, voice experimentation, and obscure instruments that EITS have never dappled with before. Nice to see they are willing to widen the amount of colors they use on their canvas, even if they only use them in subtle ways.

LAZY COMPARISON: Like six really long, awesome bridges from six different Appleseed Cast songs. Actually, I think these two bands are morphing into one another, and to be honest, I don't have a problem with that.

2011 Temporary Residence Limited Records
1. Last Known Surroundings 8:21
2. Human Qualities 8:09
3. Trembling Hands 3:30
4. Be Comfortable, Creature 8:47
5. Postcard From 1952 7:06
6. Let Me Back In 10:07

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