Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Explosions in the Sky - Fine Arts Center, Calvin College (2008)

Explosions in the Sky are a band that I feel are often unfairly accused of being generic, formulaic, vanilla, etc. I won't lie, their last album didn't do a lot for me (except for the first track, which is amazing), but I also feel that such criticisms are unwarranted. Explosions may have taken a few ideas from the likes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and others, but as I see it, the only reason they're seen as generic now is that their influence has carried over to a huge number of clones who have been more active in the genre since EitS released The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place (sorry for that abominably long sentence). The other thing could just be that I have a soft spot for them, seeing as they were pretty much all I listened to for a few months in 2005. Even while other groups such as Yndi Halda or Pg.Lost may have taken their ideas further, I can still think of few post-rock releases that have such simple beauty or are as solid as The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place.

Whatever the case, Explosions are a difficult band to dislike. Their simple use of dynamics and major key melodies and chord progressions is just so full of warmth and nostalgia that listening to their music always brings up incredibly strong memories whenever I listen to them. This set has most of my favourite Explosions songs and the sound quality is great (though you will need to turn your speakers up). The slow build-up of "First Breath After Coma" is a great way to start off the set and "The Birth and Death of Day" is possibly the best song the band has ever written with just so many gorgeous moments. "Your Hand in Mine" and "The Only Moment We We're Alone" will probably always be my favourite Explosions songs and they are executed masterfully.

This show makes me want to jam with some people and make some generic Explosions in the Sky ripoff songs (obviously a lot of people have had the same idea). Enjoy.