`How Strange Innocence' is Explosions in the Sky's debut album, recorded on 2000 on a minimal budget. On the band's endearingly honest sleeve notes to this re-release they state that the album has `no tricks' and confess to having had doubts as to whether it should continue to exist.
We can be glad that it does because this is a fresh, youthful and exuberant record, with a real lightness of tone. The production and mixing are basic but this is part of its appeal. All of the instruments are more distinct and the slightly uncertain playing and desire to please has a charm of its own.
The band's trademark sound is present here. Instrumental tracks, carefully crafted guitars both melodic and ferocious and bursts of dramatic percussion.
Stand out tracks are `Snow and Lights', a really uplifting piece with alternating loud and quiet guitars and superb staccato drum bursts and `Time Stops' where a gently melodic beginning leads to a furious finish.
Minor criticism would be that the album lacks any moment of stunning inspiration and does not possess the gravitas of later recordings. Also, the final track never really gets going. But on the whole the album is a very enjoyable listen. It lays the blueprint for further greatness to come and is firmly recommended.