Unsung Classics, Part 4
Lyrics are an undervalued commodity in this day and age; they can be what makes or breaks a song, or even marks out a certain band for particular renown. Jawbreaker, […]
Lyrics are an undervalued commodity in this day and age; they can be what makes or breaks a song, or even marks out a certain band for particular renown. Jawbreaker, to name but one, are lauded amongst fans and critics alike for their cerebral, literate lyrical efforts, thanks in no small part to Blake Schwarzenbach’s status as an English Major. But what if you were to remove them completely? The music itself would have to be the prime voice, the main means of transferring the song’s emotions to the audience.
And this is where this week’s band step into the frame;
The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, Explosions in the Sky, 2003, Temporary Residence
Formed by four young men from Austin, Texas, Explosions in the Sky’s profile has risen slowly but surely, with multiple spots on soundtracks to both TV and film – they were even tasked with writing the majority of the score for 2004’s Friday Night Lights. Choosing to forego a singer, they craft their long, sweeping songs out of guitar, drums, and occasionally, a bass. There are no lyrics, but the music is as emotional and strikingly beautiful as anything in the rock universe today.
The Earth… is more of an inspired whole than it is an ‘album’ in the traditional sense. Of course, everyone will find their own favourites out of the five eight-minute plus tracks, but this is one of those LPs that you can sit back with and let it carry you away. It ebbs and flows, going from a melodious, ecstatic rushes of thunderous drums and ebullient melody, as demonstrated by ‘First Breath After Coma’ and ‘The Only Moment We Were Alone’, to the simple, lush beauty of three clean guitars picking out wonderful, interlocking passages that will tug on your heart-strings like the proverbial hook, something that is employed in ‘Six Days On The Bottom Of The Ocean’. There is no mistaking the fact that this is quite a melancholic album, but it is the kind of melancholy that makes you feel human – the album’s final piece, ‘Your Hand In Mine’ is a true masterpiece, and it will stir even the hardest of hearts into beating with its gentle rise to a sparkling resolution.
An air of purity that pervades the entire disc; it is produced superbly, with each instrument rendered beautifully within the album’s landscape. This is not an over-compressed wash of sound that makes everything the exact same volume, and it is all the more wonderful for it, as the dynamics are vital to the experience.
Now, of course, this album isn’t for everyone. Those of you with near-zero attention spans who seek quick fixes in their music need not apply; there is nothing for you here. But, if you like what you’ve heard, then give this a try. It is a thoughtful, life-affirming, beautiful album which may end up making a permanent home in your heart.