Let’s get this straight: new-rave this is not. With an average song length of seven-and-a-half minutes and an album title more emo than your younger sibling’s wonky fringe, All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone is a long way from the bandwagon.
Over seven years and four albums, the Texan quartet have perfected their brand of galaxy-sized, emotion-drenched post-rock, often in the shadow of their better-known contemporaries, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Mogwai. But what sets EITS apart from their peers is their lack of bullshit in a genre ridden with spoken-word samples and 20-minute feedback freak outs. You won’t even find any lyrics here – Explosions in the Sky frankly have never needed them.
Using just two guitars, a bass and drums, the extraordinary power and intensity created by an ordinary and underwhelming setup typifies the band’s ethos that no note should be wasted; every sound should be stretched for maximum musical yield.
As a result, All of a Sudden is refreshingly organic, and, unlike their previous offerings, plays like an album rather than a haphazard assemblage of instrumentals.
Not that the classic EITS formula has been dispensed with. Drums pound and pound, rising relentlessly as a tremolo-picked guitar screeches and scythes through the thick, delay-soaked walls of another. Turn up the volume and the rising intensity is almost unbearable. This is their speciality: crescendos to implode your head.
And then, about 20 minutes in, relief. The post-climax feels like coming up for air with a huge and desperate gasp. The resulting adrenaline is still present, but now the coupling of tenderly stroked guitars and shimmering piano trills creates a near ecstatic euphoria.
Then it’s over: exhausted, both band and listener sit back, light a cigarette, and rest safe in the knowledge that this is their best work yet.
OUT: 19 FEBRUARY