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The Wilderness

Michael Quick

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Post-rock giants, Explosions in the Sky, have been around for quite some time and have gained a pretty substantial amount of attention for a band in their genre. For those who are unaware, post-rock is a subset of rock music that is largely instrumental and focuses mostly on more ambient, through composed pieces, rather than the strophic ones that are commonplace in popular music.

While Explosions in the Sky did not invent the genre, they have certainly popularized it to some degree. They wrote the score for Friday Night Lights (2004) and if you pull up just about any “studying” playlist one of their songs is bound to be on there, most likely from their third album, The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place (2003).

The band actually doesn’t consider themselves to be in the post-rock genre, likening their songs to “cathartic mini-symphonies” instead, and their most recent release, The Wilderness, is definitely in that vein.

The title track starts off the album with a wildly delayed drum beat accompanied by what sounds like a vibraphone playing a simple, yet beautiful, melody in a way that only Explosions can do. The way the delay on the drum kit and melody interplay with one another is more reminiscent of electronic music, uncommon in Explosions’ earlier works.
Another track of note would be “Disintegration Anxiety.” This piece is definitely a departure from earlier works as well; it maintains a driving drum beat with a heavily distorted bass drum throughout the majority of the song. Although the drums stay relatively consistent throughout the course of the song, the guitars alternate between long-tone melodies and staccato riffs (more akin to parts found in newer pop alternative songs) in a way that doesn’t feel forced and disjointed, but, instead, completely effortless and gorgeous.

Explosions in the Sky’s latest album is called The Wilderness  (Photo obtained via punknews.org)

Explosions in the Sky’s latest album is called The Wilderness (Photo obtained via punknews.org)30

Overall, I felt as though this was an incredible album. I only wish that it was longer; this time around, their songs average closer to the four to five minute mark, whereas older albums wouldn’t see songs shorter than eight minutes. It may sound silly, but the long, evolving epics that they write really add to the romanticism of their pieces. The band’s evolution from their past iterations may turn off some people, but at their core, they are still making wonderfully dramatic, ambient music and I would say that this is their best album since The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place.

1 Comment

One Response to “The Wilderness”

  1. Chris on April 26th, 2016 6:48 am

    I remember them since their early days, this guys contributed a lot to the community! I am definitely going to buy their new album.

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The Wilderness