Review: Explosions in the Sky — The Wilderness

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, April 6th, 2016 at 11:26 PM
Review: Explosions in the Sky — The Wilderness by Britton Rozzelle

Through deep strings and rhythmic bass, pitch-perfect drums, and a sense of self and style otherwise unknown in the rock genre, Explosions in the Sky is back with “The Wilderness,” 9 tracks of their special blend of bliss that many have been waiting for since their last release (not counting soundtracks)—2011’s excellent “Take Care, Take Care, Take Care.”

Opening with “Wilderness,” the album kicks off with an ambient clip and much of their traditional sensibilities of instrumentality. It’s more similar to El Ten Eleven than anything the band has put out since 2011, but it’s a great track, and certainly one that serves to hook a listener in. It passes the electronic hook to “The Ecstatics,” which picks up to a blinding roar by the midpoint, and illicit clear notions of movement, travel, and discovery.

“Tangle Formations” keeps with the wilderness theme, but doesn’t do much to leave a lasting impression throughout its almost six-minute run time. That being said, it is a good track, and clearly well made much like everything else on this album. Much like, my personal favorite song on the album, “Logic of a Dream,” it’s music that doesn’t ask you to be present. It’s on, and you hear it, but it’s not making you give undivided attention to it. It’s here where the decision to go into scoring films makes an incredible amount of sense for the band.

“Disintegration Anxiety” throws us out of the calm lull incited by the previous songs and into a post-rock adventure with drums that sound like they’re breaking as they’re being played, bass that sounds like it has been altered, or broken in some way and the strong guitars the band is known for. It’s a very interesting song, and one that I believe strongly stands out.

“Losing the Light” is a foreboding and emotional track that created a lot of the same feelings of movement and travel as “The Ecstatics” did, almost picking up where it left off tonally. “Infinite Orbit,” quite literally comes out of nowhere as the previous track ends, and only lasts for about three minutes—making it the shortest song on here. With that in mind, it arrives, makes its point, and leaves before it gets tiresome.

“Colors in Space” is a seven minute epic that encompasses everything the band has done to this point, and more, with soaring synths setting the stage for stark and melodic guitars. The song has a dream-like quality that simply and smoothly transitions into a powerful rock track that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

The final song on the album, “Landing Cliffs” is an acoustic sunset that marks the end of the album, and the start of the next chapter in the band’s career.

Overall, “The Wilderness” is a strong album, and while the ambient, instrumental-only tracks may not be for everyone, they are a great mood setter and would be great to use to study or relax to. Explosions in the Sky knocked it out of the park with this one, and I can only hope it won’t be another five years for another full album like this one.

Britton Rozzelle is The Arts Editor for The Spectator and he can be reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com

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