Published Apr 20, 2011It's been four years since Explosions in the Sky's last release, taking more time than fans are used to waiting for a follow-up record. But next week, the instrumental foursome finally unleash their fifth full-length album, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, which is streaming here all week on Exclaim.ca.
For most bands four years between albums would produce an overabundance of song ideas, but the writing process for Take Care began as a laborious one, with the album conceived after a bout of frustration and a month away from music.
"A couple years back, we hit a real wall; not much was happening and no feeling was found," guitarist Munaf Rayani tells Exclaim! "So we collectively decided to take a sabbatical. We didn't talk about music or play music. We did everything else. We went to the movies, we had table tennis tournaments -- and we'd have to bite our tongues not to talk about music."
It took a month before they cracked. Explosions in the Sky walked back into their practice space revived and rejuvenated. All of a sudden, they were completing song after song.
"It's funny how it worked out that way," Rayani says. "But that's art."
The new album finds the band taking creative liberties they never would have considered before. "Trembling Hands" spans a mere three and a half minutes -- nothing more than an intro when compared to the typical length of an Explosions in the Sky track -- while "Postcard from 1952" showcases drummer Chris Hrasky in the most un-Explosions way: laying down a regular rock beat.
"We were excited by the prospect of thinking, 'Can we get away with a three-and-a-half-minute song?'" Rayani says, remembering the band's process of whittling "Trembling Hands" down from its original seven minutes. "[And] when it came to 'Postcard from 1952,' [Chris] could have done rolls or fills, but we thought about doing a straight drum beat. We've stayed away from straight beats before, because in some settings that can be boring. But we told him to run it straight, like it was a school dance in the '50s; we could imagine the chaperones and the punch bowls, just like the Enchantment Under the Sea dance!"
All of these elements create a bright and optimistic album -- not overtly, in the summer-track-of-the-year kind of way, but much more than previous Explosions in the Sky records. Rayani says the change was deliberate, and he's thankful that it comes across in the music.
"A natural human evolution is occurring [in this record]," he explains." In any aspect of art, if you stand still too long you sink. This is all quicksand and we're trying to move forward -- we're not interested in being just one thing."
And their surroundings are evolving with their sound. On April 30, the band are playing Take Care in its entirety at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, with each track visually interpreted by a different artist.
"The cemetery show was somewhat serendipitous because we were hoping to graduate out of [regular ol' rock clubs]," Rayani says. "We're looking to play more theatres and out-of-the-box venues this year."
And while Explosions in the Sky do not currently have any Canadian dates scheduled, you can see all the band's upcoming stops here. As for Take Care, the album will be hitting stores on April 26 via Temporary Residence Ltd., but you can currently listen to the album here on Exclaim.ca.