This plane will crash tomorrow
Help us stay alive
The second album and first nation-wide release of Explosions in the Sky introduces itself with this simple explanation. No more, nor less is needed. Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever is an album of contrasts; death and rebirth, signal and noise, quiet and storm. It is filled throughout with a barely containable energy and enthusiasm which coupled with excellent technical skill make for an attention-grabbing experience.
Comparisons with Godspeed You Black Emperor! are impossible to avoid, and rightly so. Those Who Tell the Truth is an album firmly rooted in the post-rock genre; with all the tense build-ups, dynamic landscapes, and long transitions that define the genre. Despite similarities, however, there's no questioning the group's originality. The tone of Those Who Tell the Truth is distinctly divergent from that of its peers. There's a sort of optimism to the record that one can't avoid being caught up in. Their feel for weaving romance and tragedy into their music is impeccable. As the group warms themselves up, the sense that something momentous and wonderful is just around the corner exudes from every note and rhythm. When the climax arrives, these expectations are never disappointed.
Other comparisons might also help to explain the nature of the record. Explosions in the Sky puts very little emphasis on noise; the ominous, almost claustrophobic half-intelligable samples and disembodied voices that fill the space of GYBE! and Mogwai are almost totally absent from Those Who Tell the Truth, replaced by more melodic content (there is, in fact, only one vocal sample; a recitation of calm but melancholy wonderings about the reasons for suffering). Themes are introduced and modified, revisted later and refined upon. At times the band seems to be singing a lullaby, others a hymn, others a martial rallying cry, and others the furious explosive noises of a deep-pitched battle, but never remaining in one place for long. Just when one has settled into the patterns of a theme, Explosions in the Sky decides to give one a little jolt and skips happily onto its next expression.
With only two guitars, a bass, and a percussion set, there's a danger that without lyrics Those Who Tell the Truth could grow monotonous, but Explosions in the Sky easily avoids this pitfall. What helps most is the drum work, which always provides a strong backbone for the sonic landscapes dreamed up by the two guitarists. While refraining from distracting too much attention away, Chris Hrasky roots the group with rhythms that can range from dreamily drifting to frighteningly warlike. In the usual pattern, one guitarist and one bassist always provides the background for each song's landscape, while the final musician dances melodies round the rest. The combination is perfectly realized.
Those Who Tell the Truth is divided into two sections, of three songs each.
- great death
- yasmin the light
- the moon is down
- have you passed through this night?
- a poor man's memory
- with tired eyes, tired minds, tired souls, we slept
Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever was recorded in December 2000 in Washington, D.C. by Christopher Hrasky, Mark T. Smith, Michael James, and Munaf Rayani. More information is available at http://www.explosionsinthesky.com
there ain't no world but this one