So, Explosions in the Sky have a new record out and it’s called The Wilderness and I probably shouldn’t be taking time out of my otherwise delightfully lackadaisical afternoon to write about it because at this point, I realize, there’s no place for this band in my life. Certainly no place like there used to be.
And that bothers me a bit but I feel it’s important I come to grips with the distance between now and the man who spent a decade (give or take) letting his worth and words get supplanted by the tortured crescendos of the fabled Texas foursome because – JESUS FUCK – did this band mean so much to me and my heart’s desire. I have fallen in love twice and out of love once, to, at least, two versions of “Your Hand in Mine.” I spent hours, if not whole nights, on the floor of my room at Ditmars, smoking cigarettes and watching the black stain crawl across the ceiling listening to The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place over and over and over again envisioning the fireworks my life deserved while celebrating the solitude I had so desperately earned. I shared a perfect kiss as the band played on at The Bowery Ballroom, not knowing that my whole new world was present and perfect as teenage dreams.
I wrote poetry to their works, for fuck’s sake, some of which, Ms. M narrated to their strains and blearily beatific footage of passing lights through lonely subway panes.
I mean, I LOVED THIS FUCKING BAND, MAN! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen them but I have six shirts, three posters and once broke a BRUTAL hangover to procure two copies (one for me and one for my lovely) of All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone when they went on sale New Year’s Day, 2007.
Now I don’t. Like, not at all. And I know that’s all on me because The Wilderness is actually a reasonably decent release and a charming departure from the band’s epic droves a la 2005’s The Rescue which saw Explosions in the Sky reducing their sound to more digestible time lines except whereas that album took two weeks to complete and favored playfulness over exploitation, The Wilderness took five years to see release and offers undulating murk and electronic discord to temper their characteristic emotional sweep.
That being said, no matter how much The Wilderness greys, the album is every bit the Skinner Box Explosions in the Sky’s catalog would lead the listener to expect. Emotional rewards are easy and frequent and maintain the same misty-eyed Kodachrome sunrise aesthetic as everything else they’ve ever done only with less clinical desperation and considerably more understatement.
And, to be honest, the whole thing strikes me as insipid if not boring as sin and I know that my opinion is based alternately in growing older and self-inflicted overexposure but I just can’t with this record or this band right now. Maybe we’ll find each other again some dusky night in my 40s when I need to remember what it was like to be open and fretful but today I’m good as ghost.
The Wilderness Tracklist:
02. The Ecstatics
03. Tangle Formations
04. Logic of a Dream
05. Disintegration Anxiety
06. Losing the Light
07. Infinite Orbit
08. Colors in Space
09. Landing Cliffs