Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Explosions in the Sky - "The Rescue" (LP Review)

First, let's get this out of the way: "The Rescue" is nowhere near the tour de force that is "Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever". But it is still a fine EP and one that deserves to be in your collection. Clocking in at 32 minutes, it is more like an LP than EP, but that's what they call it. And since it is free, there is no reason for you to not download a copy. But we'll get back to that in a bit.

"The Rescue" is volume 21 in the "Travels in Constants" EP series released on Explosion in the Sky's label Temporary Residence Limited. Yeah, I hadn't heard of the series either, but some of the other artists in the series include Low and Mogwai, so that should give you an idea.

"The Rescue" was recorded in eight days (one song per day) and represents a slight departure for them. There are more instruments, a looser approach and even some singing. Well, background vocals only -- nobody sings a lead. The EP was recorded in the Michael James's (bass & guitar) house and has a decidedly more lo-fi, less produced feel. There are no bad songs on this EP, but some of the experiments are more successful than others (e.g., Day Five, in which their original goal was to make the "saddest dance record in the world"). There is a tentative sound to some of these songs that 1) reminds me of Dif Juz (e.g., "Day Eight" vs. Dif Juz's "No Motion"), and 2) is in stark contrast to the ferocity of TWTTTSD.

I could try to describe the tracks, but EITS has extensive notes on their web site about the recording of each song. Suffice to say that the entire EP is an homage to their early experience of being stuck in Syracuse NY for eight days while they awaited a transmission repair on their van. The story is made more explicit on the song "Day 3" through samples from videotapes the band recorded while awaiting the repair.

Originally only available via mail order or at concerts, the EP is now out of print. But EITS has all eight songs available for download from their web site, so there is absolutely no excuse why you don't have this in your collection.

Standout songs: Day Two, Day Three, Day Seven, Day Eight

Skip 'em songs: none.

Final score: 7/10.

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