Explosions in the Sky - The Wilderness (Cover Artwork)

Explosions in the Sky

The Wilderness (2016)

Temporary RESIDENCE Limited

I can't even begin to comprehend the challenges that a band like Explosions in the Sky face when they sit down to write new music. To reach an audience purely through harmony, rhythm and and raw instrumentation without any lyrical assistance the way this band does requires a talent rarely seen in music today.

What this band can do with an hour of our time sometimes defies comprehension and speaks to the true power of music and its relationship with mind. It has been five years since we last saw a studio album from Explosions in the Sky. Since Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, they have been involved in a few soundtracks with some on-and-off touring, so I don't think it would be controversial to say The Wilderness is one of the most anticipated albums of the year in this community.

The first three tracks of the album give us a taste of the Explosions in the Sky we have come to associate with, however it sprinkles in a more synthetic sound that long time fans aren't so accustomed to. The emotional build-ups that I personally associate the most with in previous albums are still present, but you get a sense that they might be tinkering with something a little different than what is expected.

It isn't until 'Logic of a Dream' that you see a unique shift in musical stylings from the band. The track goes from zero to sixty and then back down to zero in a little under seven minutes. Spiritual pulses lead into a monster drum bridge before closing the track with their signature guitar work.

'Disintegration Anxiety' gets the album back on track only to be wildly detoured by 'Losing the Light' and what can be described as, in my best opinion, as galaxy rock. High quality, noise canceling headphones will be your best bet for this track as booming synth-noise meets powerful guitar riffs and a well placed piano. Wrapping my head around it isn't easy, but I get notes of outer space, danger and something to do with seeing the earth for the first time from a space shuttle.

Two big tracks dot the tail end of The Wilderness with 'Landing Cliffs' as the piano-laden conclusion to this big, beautiful album.

It's hard to imagine the mindset a band would be in after a half decade of not writing music for mass distribution. I think a good takeaway from The WIlderness is that people change; musicians change. But the album is also a testimonial that no matter how much people change, they have roots that they are loyal to deep down. Is this a concept album? I don't think it is. It's Explosions in the Sky as powerful as they were in 2011, however in just a slightly different way. I will say it took me three spins to shake the whole "this sounds more like a Saxon Shore album" and actually focus on what makes it uniquely EITS. It's not Take Care or All of a Sudden, but it's uniquely Explosions and that's good enough for me.