Explosions in the Sky – The Rescue

Explosions in the Sky – The Rescue
Temporary Residence – 3 Stars

I became a Christian this summer, which, of course, involved a great deal of praying.  Now, nothing’s gonna make me love music any less, but, let’s face it, it’s hard to listen to Tiger Bear Wolf when you’re talking to God.  As a result, my (admittedly already big big) love for Explosions in the Sky has skyrocketed to nearly Favorite Band status.  There’s a certain importance to their music which, when combined with the fact that it’s all instrumental, goes hand in hand with prayer and worship.  The true beauty of Explosions in the Sky’s music is that it is so monumental and Important that it makes everything in the room feel important by association.  The effortless flow from track to track, the deliberate stillness of it all; it’s compelling.
That aside, The Rescue is a below average EITS record, which makes it an average record for the rest of the world.  Where previous EITS albums have had a definite sense of narrative and emotion, The Rescue feels like a string of songs.  That would work for any other band, but this music demands to be woven together; instead it feels tacked.  That’s not to say that the songs themselves ache for anything; on the contrary, they’re a step in the right direction after an album as perfect as The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place.  Bells ring in time with the drum rolls, wordless voices breathe along, creating a face for the choir.  They are certainly trying to move their sound forward, but there’s no common thread to be found here.
While The Rescue maintains the innate Importance that marks every EITS release, it introduces a new “I” word:  Indulgence.  “Day Three” is a sound collage of people talking, welling guitars, whining keys, and little else.  Since the record doesn’t fit together anyway, it becomes a throwaway track.
“Day Four” is the only track on the record that truly lives up to the majesty of Explosions in the Sky, that definite sense of consequence which marks the band’s records.  As pianos build along with slightly delayed guitar, I begin to remember that life is a beautiful, beautiful thing.  With every swell, tears rise in the eyes as I think about the incredible changes life provides, about the way God works, about the Spirit within.  Then, as soon as the song is about to burst, “Day Five” begins with a click-clack rhythm and the previous splendor is lost.  And sure, “Day Five” is a nice enough song, but there’s no cohesion.  The exultant nature of the songs themselves is, sadly, lost in the shuffle between tracks. This is not a composition, this is a collection, and that’s not why Explosions in the Sky exist.


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