Monday, March 19, 2007

Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone

All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone, album, track by track...

I actually never heard of these guys before today. So technically that disqualifies me from commenting. But hey, I have to fill this blog up with something. Plus, I like music, so, technicalities aside, I guess I'm as qualified as anyone. I'm always sort of amazed when I read reviews of albums at All Music how they're able to know an artist's entire career, like they were there the day the guy made his first baby cry. I'm more like a guy who looks up once in a while and whatever I happen to see I see. So they could've been knocking off albums for the last 40 years and I'd never know it.

So, without further ado, further self-disqualification, let me say, this is an OK album, if you like this sort of thing. I personally like songs with words, singing more. Or something that is strongly melodic or obviously of a piece. This album has a lot of interesting bits, but the songs go five different directions, if you know what I mean. My favorite track is "What Do You Go Home To?" I like the whole droning, building, developing bits. My least favorite is the long one, "It's Natural to be Afraid." It could've been split into three or four songs and no one would've known the difference.

1) The Birth and Death of the Day - (7:49) Starts like a 20 truck pileup. Then the day is born, nice day, taking the dog out for a walk, recalling my own day. Not music for music's sake, though I'm only going by the title and the peaceful guitars back and forth, left and right. Very pretty with a mounting cymbal thing back there. Then whaaaa, big guitar strums. Following that, it all piles up again, with raging drums, and wild wild guitars. Ah, and I was about to have an afternoon nap. This reminds me of an overture. We'll see what comes next. The drums are being damaged. 6:15, another down to peacefulness moment, and with a minute to go that's where it is. This is coming over my tiny computer speakers, so I'm not getting the full effect.

2) Welcome, Ghosts - (5:43) Segues into it, with pretty guitars leading the way, then drums announcing we're going somewhere else. But a minute in and we're not there yet. Now the drum beat changes to something else, with the same kind of guitar answering, echoing each other back and forth. 2:40, and we're into a peaceful reverie, like drifting along, maybe like the picture on the cover. 3:27, back to some of the most pronounced drums I've heard, and guitars appropriate for that. In fact, we're back and forth, nice, manic music perhaps not for the masses. I'm not personally too into it. I'm trying to imagine how it'd be to run to this, or do anything else to it except listen.

3) It's Natural To Be Afraid - (13:27) Huge, long track coming up. Begins with some effects, like backwards snippets played, and meandering instruments, noodling to atmosopheric effect. There's a somber, kind of scary bommm and minor-note sounding guitars, scary, dare I listen alone? This one would be good to listen to if you were creeping around a building said to be haunted, like those guys on Sci Fi channel. It's menacing, with a great title to match. I'm expecting a bunch of bats to swoop in. Soundtrack for a haunting. "Welcome, Ghosts" and now this. There's some nice centered distortion, like a dozen off channel radio stations being monitored at one time. But it's going on a bit long. You have anything like that for a prolonged time, it becomes oppressive. 4:00, that's fading out, and another jaunt out by the lilies and rippling brook, a few clouds in the sky, slightly melancholy. This is like a new song in here, but it still has a noodling quality. Like we're not exactly going anywhere. That's all interrupted at about 6:27, a renewed drum/cymbal guitar exchange, now ongoing. The notes, like in most music, are going up and down. 8:02, we're changing the pace a little, more driving, but that faded quickly, very quickly. I liked that bit, too. 9:19, going nuts with the drums, loud, fast guitars. Wild bit starts here. So don't doze off if you're listening to this album. That happens in Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony, you'll recall, just when you're about dead, boom! It kills you again. Pathetique. I don't know, this is just like one big noodling-around track. But it IS natural to be afraid. At 11:43, the backwards snippets like at the beginning return. So we're going to be noodling around the remainder of the track.

4) What Do You Go Home To? - (4:59) Starts off with what sounds like killer bees on piano. A shimmering note appears from down below, maybe up above, and drones for a time, like tuning. Then a bundle of other notes ease in, then a swirling piano riff, and all together, with the killer bees more or less vanished. This one has lots of instrumental sounds coming together like a quilt. Someone takes charge about 2:45, then a drum. This is a good track, very droning, moaning, yet tinkling, pounding, purposeful. In a way it's like the noises of a factory with many different workers making one thing. At about the 4:00 mark, it's slowed down, no drum, with the killer bees drone returned and predominating. It has a kind of subtle vibrato to it, then at 4:30 it's faded, with a piano and a few notes. One single note fills in the last 10 seconds.

5) Catastrophe and The Cure - (7:56) Very dense thicket of music and drum pounding, telling of some crisis. The sidewalks are cracked, I don't know. It's a different song, but it recalls some of another, "It's Natural." At 1:36, some great drum/guitar build-up, faster, faster. Where we're going, I don't know. But it's intense. 2:19, we go to a peaceful bit, which will probably be shortlived. There's some incredible noodling going on, quick strumming. 3:21, a different musical strain takes over, with guitars washing over us. Then a marching percussion joins for a short time. At 4:30, we've been maybe 10 different places in the song. I'm trying to find a focus, but since this is just my first time hearing it, I'm not doing very well. I like it but not that much. The good news is I seldom like an album the first time through. But this one I probably won't give a second chance to. I like words, too, not just guitars, drums, alternating peace and chaos. 6:15, we're into a strong drum section, getting some exercise there. It's called "Catastrophe and The Cure," so who knows what that's supposed to mean? It's all good, one guesses. 7:21, built up to crescendo, then down to dainty little notes to end it off.

6) So Long, Lonesome - (3:40) - Segues from that into this. Starting off with nice, high guitar notes, then a piano creeps in, two maybe. 1:00, establishing its own tune. A new tune, and a nice one so far, but no extended melody line. (What do I know? Nothing, really). I like the snippets at 2:15, like what came before in the track, but more distinct and identifiable as something. Strong drums at 2:50, with the piano playing a high riff several times. 3:20, we're getting ready to close it out, and it's closing out very very peacefully.

1 comment:

Dan Masquelier said...

You really should listen to "The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place." It is by far their best album in my opinion. Songs like "Your Hand in Mine" and "First Breathe After Coma" are just so powerful!!! So yeah, go listen to that too! Props for finding them in the first place! Have a great day =]