Explosions In The Sky, The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place
et 'em up, knock 'em down. If what Explosions in the Sky do is so easy, though, why haven't there been a raft of imitators cashing in on crescendo-core? Here's a thought: it ain't that easy after all. Despite what sounds like an endless build-to-ecstatic-release formula, EITS's The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place is a masterpiece of restraint and, believe it or not, subtlety.
Whereas on the group's second album, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever, the quartet seemed to be racing headlong towards the pay-off, on The Earth the group is content to wander a bit, survey the terrain and come at those celebratory moments from odder angles. "Your Hand in Mine" and "Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean" almost glide in parts, their themes rolling along a manner that might be described as funky (a term that can only be brought out here because the rest of The Earth is so unrelentingly stiff). And the first section of "First Breath After Coma" doesn't even have that moment where everything seems to explode at once.
The EITS boys are hyper-aware of their shtick and are just as interested in subverting it. And perhaps that's why Friday Night Lights, the movie and television show, came calling. Perfect for soundtracking the dull menace of high school — where everything seems a bit more epic than it actually is — The Earth was a backdrop par excellence for a dusty Texas town obsessed by football. Even if the group who made it — and the majority of the listeners who bought it — were the ones getting beat up by those same football players years ago.