Explosions in the Sky - The Wilderness
Returning with their sixth studio album since 2011's Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, and after countless soundtrack contributions, sees the Texan post-rockers in an Autumnal mood. Explosions in the Sky have always been a group with a big sound and a driving insistence, but on first listen The Wilderness lacks the distorted wig outs of previous material like 2007's All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone. Hushed whispers instead of battle cries, but peel back the top layer of the onion and there's so much more to find underneath.
As a result of the group’s varied soundtrack work, it is hard to listen to The Wilderness without envisioning a richly photographed rolling landscape and, for a split second, the clouds splitting to reveal the sun. Another element clearly taken on board from their soundtrack work, is knowing when less is more. Musically the album incorporates more electronic bleeps and squeaks with the band’s usual dynamic sound, this matched with the crystalline and textured guitar work, and the distorted drums makes for an album that dips between the beauty and danger of the wilderness. Highlights from the album include ‘Disintegration Anxiety’ with its staccato guitar lines, ‘Losing The Light’ the most understated track on the album that starts to border on the classical rather than rock, and ‘Infinite Orbit’ which feels like an uplifting ambient ray of sunshine. Overall, The Wilderness is an accomplished and refined effort, their best since 2003's The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place, also taking in elements from The Cure’s seminal Disintegration. An expansive but personal piece of work that feels like a solitary walk through an autumnal woodland remembering the joys and sorrows of times gone by.