For the postrock zealot, whether it be profane concerns or secular idolatry, there is no room for frivolity. So when the West Texas gridiron exploits of the Odessa Permian Panthers met the quiet-loud-quiet-loud dynamism of Heart of Texas instrumental quartet Explosions in the Sky helmet-to-helmet on the soundtrack to the 2004 flick Friday Night Lights, the stakes were higher than the score of a high school football (or even Texas-A&M) game, their overmodulated soundtrack to such mainstream fare something more akin to a holy war.
The band casually bears such portentous weight on their shoulder pads, though. From their mouthful debut, 2001’s Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever, on through 2003’s The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place, every song title and downstroke has life-or-death consequences. So the biggest worry for All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone is that the band may prematurely reach le petit morts but a few minutes into their first song, “The Birth and Death of the Day.” Fear not, as the band’s stamina and ability to ascend/transcend at any given moment remains intact and is captured with even greater clarity. Grander vistas and granular valleys are detailed, so that on tracks like “Catastrophe and the Cure,” the martial drums concuss as carpet bombs, the minor key piano lines roil like panhandle thunderstorms, and the walls of guitar break like levees. This brooding disc trades again in the band’s drama and platitudes, tethering it to both elemental catastrophe and the tiny human scale affected in its wake. Whether it inspires bosom-heaving, jersey-rending, or chopper-flagging, Explosions in the Sky will have true believers again faint with praise.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 6, 2007