The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place

...because you are listening

So says the hidden message in the printed on the upturned side of the card insert behind the CD on this fine album from American Post-Rock band Explosions in the Sky. This is technically the 3rd album but only the second to be released to the public; the first, How Strange, Innocence ,had a mere 300 copies pressed and was available only at their live shows. It is much less ambient that How Strange, and more direct than their second album Those who tell the truth will die, those who tell the truth will live forever, making it (in my humble opinion) their finest album to date. Unlike many other bands of their ilk EITS comprise only 4 artists, and this shows through in this album, with many of the songs spending a while focusing on a single guitar melody or repeated tune/rhythmic feedback.

First Breath After Coma - A gradual introduction to the style of the album. A classic post rock affair, it builds up very gradually following a central guitar riff, but at the climax of the song, it does not disintegrate into noise, but simply calms then builds slowly into a haze of distortion that leads nicely into the next track...

The Only Moment We Were Alone - starting with the distorted noise/strong drumming that finished First Breath, the track quickly gains a very nice upbeat momentum and an almost hummable tune (maybe a quality that gave it some airplay on the John Peel show earlier in the year). This tune is exemplified, and in a somewhat banal post rock song structure, leads up to and out of several fits of excited noise, which then fade back down. Although this is by no means a bad song, it is certainly not the most innovative on the album.

Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean - is about Russian sailors trapped in the Kursk submarine, who were never rescued, and slowly died of asphyxiation. The first half is filled with points of hope and despair, whereas the second half of the track is a desperate affair, with a slowly increasing tempo which cant help but make me think of the sailors finally drowning to death.

Memorial - is a very apt name for the track following Six Days, although a very nice song in its own right, it also serves the function of putting you in a somewhat liberated state of mind ready for the final track...

Your Hand In Mine - a somewhat soppy, but also mind-blowingly good track to end the album. The entire 8 minutes builds up a mood of triumph and hope, and just leaves you with a massive grin on your face, an interesting feature of this track is that it doesn't simply build up to a single point, but rather plays out more equally.

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