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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

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

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10/10

Take Care, Take Care, Take Care is Explosions in the Sky's most laid back album. It explores silence (something few bands are brave enough to tackle) at certain moments, and finds the band blending their crescendos more naturally into the songs than ever. Each track flows effortlessly into the next, but is a completely separate entity. To me, this conceptually sounds like a collection of instrumental short stories about people who have left home, with the album title as an admonishment. The CD digipak folds into an abandoned house, and includes a poster of realistic earth to set it upon. Even the inside of the house is fully realized (more excellent work from artist, Esteban Rey), and shows the windows looking out upon a rainy prairie and a tornado. All of Explosions in the Sky's albums have a comforting quality, but Take Care, Take Care, Take Care espouses it the most, offering reassurance for those who've struck out on their own--that is, until the final track, "Let Me Back In." I hate the saying "You can't go home again," but in many cases, it is true. When you leave something, it is rarely the same when you return, and if it is, you are probably different. Still, there is almost always an idealized place in our past we'd prefer to return to, a home we'd like to live in. "Let Me Back In" sounds like every weary traveler knocking on the door of the metaphorical house the album becomes. The song takes on a haunting, supernatural quality heretofore unexplored by the band. As the track grows in intensity, Tibetan singing bowls and strange chanting sounding like the voices of the dead, ghosts, join with the living, pound on the walls, Let Me Back In. When I saw the band perform this song live, I shut my lids, and I think I saw the eye of God.

***
Harry Reid is a pig farmer east of Austin, Texas in 1952. Harry is hunting rabbits next to a narrow ravine on the wilderness of his rural property, when he tumbles in and blacks out. He awakes to the sound of a jetliner cruising overhead, and climbs out of the ravine to find himself in the middle of a thick tangle of houses before a distant backdrop of skyscrapers. Harry panics and runs across a street, where he is promptly sideswiped by a car, then swarmed by concerned citizens, police, and soon an ambulance. As Harry recovers in a modern day hospital bed, confused out of his wits, a police detective approaches him. It is 2012, Harry has been missing for sixty years, and he hasn't aged a day. After several interrogations and medical tests, Harry is released to a foster family who attempts to help rehabilitate him to the new world. Harry comes to appreciate modern advances and seems to slowly become well-adjusted to his new surroundings. He is shown photographs of his family, and is told what became of them. Eventually, Harry gets a job as a greeter in a supermarket and appears to be living a comfortable life. One night, though, after perusing his old photos, Harry cannot sleep, and he finds himself wandering the streets, searching for his old home. Through suburbs and strands of trees that have been tamed, canyons that have been filled, and streams that have been bridged, Harry finally sees his home, boarded up, a Historic Registrar plaque on the gate. Harry climbs over and tries the door, but it is locked. He rips and hammers at the lock, but has no luck in opening the door. Desperately, Harry screams and begins to pound with his fist, and deep, verdant light seems to pour from the cracks in the walls and the door and the windows, from the very foundations, and still Harry bellows at the top of his lungs, "Let Me Back In!"

2011 Temporary Residence Limited
1. Last Known Surroundings 8:22
2. Human Qualities 8:10
3. Trembling Hands 3:31
4. Be Comfortable, Creature 8:48
5. Postcard from 1952 7:07
6. Let Me Back In 10:07

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