Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

written by: April 25, 2011
Release Date: April 26, 2011


Explosions in the Sky have had a difficult time evolving their sound since the release of their 2003 classic The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place. The album spawned thousands of followers and copycats, but the band struggled to stay relevant ever since. The pressure to create a follow-up was evident and every year that passed built up more and more anticipation.

When All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone finally appeared in 2007, it didn’t deliver. Though a few new ideas were spread across its six tracks, the formula already sounded a bit worn-out. The Austin, Texas quartet could still transcend all those new bands aping them thanks to their wonderfully lush production and trademark guitar interplay, but nothing on the album was particularly spectacular. Now, four years later the next installment finally arrives, hopefully more exciting than the last.

The redundantly titled Take Care, Take Care, Take Care is another six-song affair with all the same standards in place, but even from the beginning something’s quite different. Strings open the record followed by a distant electronic beat and even more distant babbling sounds. When the band kicks in, they sound rejuvenated. There is a drive in opener “Last Known Surroundings” not heard since their earlier works.

The band clearly still has a knack for creating vivid images by pairing their music with perfectly descriptive song titles.

“Human Qualities,” however, takes it to another level. Feeding off the momentum with a galloping rhythm played by what sounds like hands beating on thighs with light effects treatment. There is subtle use of sampling techniques throughout the record—subtle and fitting. They then bring it down to a low rumble and start to rebuild. Faint voices appear amongst the beautiful guitar. They take their time here, slowly developing anticipation for a few minutes.

The climax in post-rock is all but predictable by now, but a well executed one can still excite like it used to and here they launch a truly glorious explosion living up to their namesake.

The galloping continues into the three-and-a-half-minute “Trembling Hands” with a still unprecedented energy. Pulsing vocal “ohs” are a welcome addition to the sound and when the band reaches peak volume, a higher pitch pulse produced on guitar responds in the background. It’s quite nice and again shows how the band is able to work simple yet effective new ideas into the material.

The second half takes on a more traditional approach, but the energy and quality remains. Closer “Let Me Back In” even has a groove to it. Some reversed vocals peer in and out. Instead of ending with a bang, the group opts to let the listener down slowly. A wise move, as the music before was plenty of thrill for one sitting.

So in the end, Explosions in the Sky are just doing their thing. It’s a thing everyone’s heard before. But these days everything in post-rock has already been said and done. It’s the live shows that remain killer. Explosions in the Sky will no doubt induce many out-of-body experiences with these songs. Even then, Take Care is a rare treat in the current post-rock world that overcomes its lack of freshness with fiery passion.

Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care Tracklist:

  1. “Last Known Surroundings”
  2. “Human Qualities”
  3. “Trembling Hands”
  4. “Be Comfortable, Creature”
  5. “Postcard from 1952”
  6. “Let Me Back In”