In 2003 the Texas-based instrumental band Explosions in the Sky released The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, one of the best post-rock albums of all time. This was the same year that the Canadian group Godspeed You! Black Emperor went on an indefinite hiatus, and since then Explosions has enjoyed almost sole reign of the instrumental rock kingdom, thanks in no small part to their awe-inspiring live performances. So it’s a big deal when they release a new album, especially now that GY!BE is touring again, and post-rock has become a major part of the musical landscape.
Explosions’ latest effort, released on April 18, 2011, and entitled Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, suffers from the same fate as their 2005 and 2007 releases: it is not The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. That is not to say Take Care is a bad album. Stylistically it doesn’t depart much from previous efforts, featuring all the chiming guitars and surging crescendos that the band is known for. Album-opener “Last Known Surroundings” begins with a quiet ambient drone, finally broken by sprawling distorted guitars and pounding drums. The track highlights what does set this album apart from its predecessors. Continuing in the direction of 2007′s All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone, Explosions creates here a more expansive, atmospheric sound than on their earlier albums. The use of sampling on several of the tracks, as well as ubiquitous use of an E-bow, adds to this effect.
“Trembling Hands” shows the greatest departure from the bands core sound, with ambient vocal sampling and a steadier compositional dynamic than most of their songs employ. Although it does hint at a new direction for the band, it is unclear if this is the direction the band should move in, or even if the members of the band think so. Either way, the song feels too repetitive, even for its uncharacteristically short runtime of 3:30, and it fails to conjure the same dramatic emotional intensity that Explosions are usually so good at accomplishing.