Post-rock has been criticized for having two sizes -small and large- when in fact, the music’s often offered in medium and super-sized as well. And so what? Classical music delivers it’s own range with only a few more dynamic instructions (in Italian, no less). With the criticisms of post-rock’s instrumental limited vision and range, one forgets it’s more a matter of the quality of delivery than the quantity of variations.
Anyway, if I’m falling off the boat a bit harping on the formulas used to criticize post-rock, it’s because Explosions in the Sky, as the brilliant album art by Esteban Ray might suggest, have been straying too, floating with the winds of good chance, fated to sink one of these days from their three-night sell-outs at the Bowery and the type of unconditional lovers who are an inevitable precursor to the inevitable, if not a little flippant, haters. (Sorry for the attention to one eensy little music blog. In fairness, I’m not the only one).
Their latest album (yes, this review is a bit late), contains extended feats of reinvention and experimentation, if not of completely unbound and never imagined music, at least pleasing adaptations of previously under-utilized formulas. The lush piano counter-tempos swelling against each other like passing tides in “What Do You Go Home To?”, and the more aggressive drums on “Catastrophe and the Cure”, feature snare hits that take a cue from the revivalist “post-punk” across the pond.
While these behavioral tics, scattered through a mature band’s LP aren’t signs of an “evolving” sound, they’re welcome stutters in the weather-worn path they’ve long ago defined.