Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Explosions in the Sky

All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone (2007)

Temporary Residence

When I heard that Explosions in the Sky sold 50,000 copies of their previous album, the wonderful The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place, I was both surprised and reassured. While the band sticks to a remarkably tried and true formula, they represent the antithesis of what one would imagine to be easily packaged music: songs that run 7-10 minutes, no vocals, blurry press photos. Though they've become the poster boys for "post-rock," the band is really best described as instrumental crescendo rock; each song establishes a delicate melodic pattern, builds on it and then explodes in a wave of muscular distortion.

This newest album does nothing to break from this formula, with each of the songs following this pattern. Though this might sound like a criticism, it's no more a failing than it is for a band to write a song with a chorus. Like the cliché says, "it's what you do with it that counts." From the opening song which layers a wavering lead over bass feedback through the closer which is piano-driven and orchestral in its arrangement, Explosions in the Sky do quite a lot with what they have.

If anything, Miss Everyone is best described as a refinement of everything they've done so far. Melodies are more pervasive, nuanced layers of sound are both atmospheric and enveloping and noodling is at an all-time low. While The Earth suffered from some aimless moments in the second half of the album, Everyone is as tight as one could expect a six-song, 43-minute album to be.

When reviewing Isis' Panopticon, I described that record as a series of short stories. Just as Isis is to narrative, Explosions in the Sky are to the score. The similie became reality as the band was tasked with scoring the film and series Friday Night Lights and few bands could be more appropriate. The band seems to develop each song like a miniature movie, with the first moments introducing the characters, creating tension and following a dramatic art to its inevitable and satisfying conclusion.

The end result is that this album will engage fans, impress outsiders and relax almost anyone. What it won't do is satisfy the many critics so focused on progression that they lose sight of the song. But thankfully, those are the only people who will miss out.