Ever try to do homework while listening to your favorite music? I assume the answer to this question is an overwhelming yes. However, most of the time when I try to write a paper to Led Zeppelin III or Music From Big Pink, my work falls by the wayside. Instead of seeing a fully formed English essay, my computer screen usually reads something like “in Bernard Malamud’s The Natural, Jimmy Page is the fucking man.” However, with the Texan post-rock quartet Explosions in the Sky, I may have found the perfect paper-writing music.
The band’s new album All of A Sudden I Miss Everyone is remarkable. Upon each listen I hear new things and appreciate it even more. When I work while listening, I work with it and not in spite of it. In fact, the music seems put me in the ideal state of mind.
The title of the album speaks to the original sound created by the band. Comprised of only six tracks, the album breaks new ground for Explosions in the Sky. The inclusion of piano sets the album apart somewhat from the band’s past work. Yet the extended solos and moments of catharsis that define their style remain front and center.
The opening track, “The Birth of and Death of the Day,” begins with distortion before it slows down and cleans up after itself with wonderful musicianship. The standout track on the album is the 13-minute “It’s Natural to Be Afraid.” It contains a series of mini-movements building to a monumental crescendo. The songs on All of a Sudden bring out so many emotions simply from the virtuosity of the musicians. Their music evokes the awe, beauty and power of a natural phenomenon. Their sound builds from minimalist restraint to an epic breaking point like the palpable sense of anticipation one feels as the shoreline recedes before a great tsunami. Metaphors aside, All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone does not miss a beat.