The rock what comes after

I went on a Temporary Residence buying spree because of Friday Night Lights. It’s one of the best shows on television right now, and the soundtrack employs a lot of music from Explosions in the Sky.

You think a show about a Texas high school football team would use nothing but country music, but the moodiness of Explosions’ music makes it a really nice fit. Once I got a hankering for Explosions in the Sky, I couldn’t stop at just one.

Explosions in the Sky, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever

What eventually got me interested in 2004’s The Earth Is Not a Cold, Dead Place was the orchestral feel of the music. If transcribed for a chamber ensemble, the pieces on The Earth Is Not a Cold, Dead Place could really sound good. The same cannot be said of Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever, and it’s no less an album because of it.

Those Who Tell the Truth … relies much more the crunch of a power chord than it does on a blur of effects. It’s a rougher album than The Earth Is Not a Cold, Dead Place and somehow simultaneously simpler and more complex. It doesn’t have the conceptual focus of its follow-up, but it takes bigger risks, especially with the vocal samples on "Have You Passed Through This Night?"

Both albums are terrific, but Those Who Tell the Truth … has something intangibly special.

Eluvium, When I Live by the Garden and the Sea

I like An Accidental Memory in Case of Death a bit too much. Piano music tends to be either new age claptrap or classical warhorses. An Accidental Memory in Case of Death is neither — it’s too simple for classical and too indie for new age.

But that album is not the usual modus operandi of Matthew Cooper. Eluvium specializes in thick washes of guitar effects, a seemingly static texture with ever subtle changes in the spectrum.

The resulting sound is far more interesting than what can be described in words. At four tracks, When I Live by the Garden and the Sea is the appropriate length for a work of its kind. I’ve tried listening to Cooper’s full-length albums, and unfortunately, I haven’t yet built that stamina.

Envy, Insomniac Doze

It must be the more lyrical moments of Envy’s music that fools me into thinking Fukugawa Tetsuya has a soothing scream. How can a scream ever be soothing? And yet, Fukugawa’s howl doesn’t annoy me, even if he is screaming the same two note in every measure.

The music on Insomniac Doze is bombastic and moving, and Fukugawa’s monotone screech fits in nicely with the band’s beautiful excess. I don’t even notice the epic length of the tracks.

When Envy gets loud, they try their best to bust the meters, but the band’s music isn’t all about that. When they pull back, Fukugawa offers some appealing melodic material. The intensity of Insomniac Doze may overwhelm some listeners, but it’s a sensation worth experiencing.

mono & World’s End Girlfriend, Palmess Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain

After four albums, it’s pretty easy to anticipate what mono provides. But Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain is a refreshing curve ball. World’s End Girlfriend coaxes out mono’s more lyrical side in an expansive work that feels wholly focused.

The music develops slowly, so when it evolves from lyrical strings to brash guitars, it’s unnoticeable but still surprising.

Being unfamiliar with World’s End Girlfriend, I’m unsure where they stop and mono begins, but I do know mono, and this is an album they always had in them. I should be thankful to World’s End Girlfriend for helping the band to bring it to fruition.

Comments

  • Ian Sit says:

    Explosions is releasing a new album in February and plan to tour with Eluvium to support the launch. I bought my ticket the second they went on sale. I’m a huge fan of both acts.
    Concerning World’s End Girlfriend, I highly highly recommend you take a listen to his last album, “Lie Lay Land”. It is every bit worth the penny.

  • NemesisVex says:

    Damn! The Austin show happens on a Monday night, and right before SXSW, too. How much work can I afford to miss, I wonder …?