Top positive review
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A phenomenal follow-up to 'Those Who Tell The Truth...'
on 4 November 2003
Faced with the difficult task of bettering the superb 'Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever', Explosions In The Sky have done just that with 'The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place'.
The tone of the album is more consistent this time around, with predominantly clean, high-register guitars weaving beautiful, intricate melodies around each other. With sparser use of the distortion pedals than on 'Those Who Tell Truth...' (which inevitably led to comparisons of that album with much of Mogwai's early work), the shifts in dynamics are more subtle, but no less effective. Opener 'First Breath After Coma' starts with a single plucked guitar note, soon joined by a delicate chiming two-note progression, until skittering percussion enters. The track builds momentum with clean guitars shimmering like The Edge with less reverb, before it falls into eerie ambience from which rises a simple, repetitive interplay between two guitars, eventually overwhelmed by splashing cymbals and a slowly rising, buzzing, droning distortion.
'The Only Moment We Were Alone' is even more impressive, the band wielding delicate beauty and overwhelming power with equal aplomb. The dynamic fluctuations are breathtaking and the track ends with the album's heaviest moment, the most crushingly cathartic, yet desperately gorgeous noise committed to record this year.
The remaining three tracks offer more of the same, all maintaining the high standards set by the first two. Some may complain that this consistency of tone makes 'The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place' a little too samey, but the quality and invention of the melodic interplay between the guitars and the spot-on percussion make this a thoroughly engaging album from start to finish. You might even be able to get your friends who dismiss the post-rock in your record collection to love it, and praise for this type of instrumental music doesn't come much higher than that...