Explosions in the Sky: All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone

For most bands, a nearly great album would be a victory. But Explosions in the Sky isn't most bands.

Explosions in the Sky

All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone

Label: Temporary Residence
US Release Date: 2007-02-20
UK Release Date: 2007-02-19

All of a sudden. No, always, it seems. Since 2000, at least, as far back as the recorded history of Explosions in the Sky. They have been exploding, all this time, against the larger, looming implosion. Their music is anthemic, yes. It is glorious, too. But it is also lonely, a loneliness as vast as the Lone Star State, their home. How could this music not feel a world apart from all the other musics of Texas? This ain't no country, this ain't no tejano, this ain't no foolin' around. This is a band of serious seers, wanting their message to be heard. But that sky above Texas dirt is so remorselessly plentiful, boundless in its cloaking arc, would a few tiny explosions even be heard?

Thankfully, yes. In 2003, Explosions in the Sky were a shot heard 'round the world. Even if the ears receiving the shockwaves were but a relatively small number, the thunderous beauty of The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place was captivating. The reverberations spilled through our hearts and limbs and out into words. The critics loved it, the bloggers loved it, the lovers of post-rock loved it like a new messiah, come to reassure them of the presence of a god beyond Godspeed. We dug up the quartet's only other release available at the time, 2001's Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever. It, too, was great. The twin guitars of Mark Smith and Munaf Rayani chimed and scraped and soared, while bassist Michael James and drummer Christopher Hrasky were the magmatic rhythm section, flowing hot underneath or blowing the lid off a mountain of sound. In 2005, we were treated to two curios: the re-release of EitS's rare, CD-R 2000 debut, How Strange, Innocence and the really quite bountiful EP, The Rescue, a collection of eight "Day"s, each one an interlude, it seemed. A set of lovely little ideas.

The half-dozen tracks on All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone are not little, mostly not lovely, and generally more than mere ideas. The album is the band's fourth full-length and their true follow-up to the momentous Earth CD. In the interim, the ringing from that initial blast of mortar has subsided. Other bands, Red Sparowes and Do Make Say Think and Gregor Samsa and still more, have tided us over, maybe even dulled the luster of this whole post-rock phenomenon, this instrumental rock scene. Because, even though All of a Sudden possesses the many moments of majesty and statements of restraint we expect from an Explosions in the Sky album, there is some element missing here. Is it as simple as a lack of melodic hooks? I don't think we turn towards a band like EitS looking for catchy tunes, but with certain of the group's works, the themes prove more sticky than with others. The opening track, "The Birth and Death of the Day", is everything you want from the band: the lurking shadows, the bursting breath of breaking light. And a great hook! Not so of its successor, "Welcome, Ghosts". This is the song offered as a free download, meant to enthrall you, compelling your purchase of the album. Instead, you'll know you've heard better. "What Do You Go Home To?" rides along on pretty piano arpeggios, but the music has no movement to it, only loops that seem hesitant to unspool into deeper ideas. "Catastrophe and the Cure", though, surges with the lifeblood of the band's earlier albums, the instruments running in formation, reaching for such great heights, nearly achieving, then doubting and cowering and testing their faith before rising again, renewed.

If this sounds like a religious experience, then you now know why we give ourselves to Explosions in the Sky and what we expect in return. All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone brings the rapture at times. Maybe, even, it does so enough. But "enough" isn't quite sufficient. For most bands, a nearly great album would be a victory. But these guys aren't most bands. The disc closes with a sweet farewell in "So Long, Lonesome". Yet its sublimity and sense of reprieve ring false. I doubt the group's days of missing everyone are gone. It is this envelope of emptiness that Explosions in the Sky are destined to rally against, always questing for a peace and beauty that are just beyond the outstretched surge of their songs. Next time, may they dig a little deeper, struggle that much more, put off resting for one more day. The dark skies are hanging all around us, waiting to explode.


The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

Electronic music is one of the broadest-reaching genres by design, and 2017 highlights that as well as any other year on record. These are the 20 best albums.

20. Vitalic - Voyager (Citizen)

Pascal Arbez-Nicolas (a.k.a. Vitalic) made waves in the French Touch electro-house scene with his 2005 debut, OK Cowboy, which had a hard-hitting maximalist sound, but several albums later, Voyager finds him launching into realms beyond at his own speed. The quirky, wallflower vocals and guitar snippets employed throughout Voyager drop a funk that brings to mind WhoMadeWho or Matthew Dear if they had disco-pop injected between their toes. "Levitation" is as pure a slice of dance floor motivation as theoretically possible, a sci-fi gunfight with a cracking house beat sure to please his oldest fans, yet the album-as-form is equally effective in its more contemplative moments, like when Miss Kitten's vocals bring an ethereal dispassion to "Hans Is Driving" to balance out its somber vocoder or the heartfelt cover of "Don't Leave Me Now" by Supertramp. Voyager may infect you with a futuristic form of Saturday Night Fever, but afterwards, it gives you a hearty dose of aural acetaminophen to break it. - Alan Ranta

Keep reading... Show less

Hitchcock, 'Psycho', and '78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene'

Alfred Hitchock and Janet Leigh on the set of Psycho (courtesy of Dogwoof)

"... [Psycho] broke every taboo you could possibly think of, it reinvented the language of film and revolutionised what you could do with a story on a very precise level. It also fundamentally and profoundly changed the ritual of movie going," says 78/52 director, Alexandre O. Philippe.

The title of Alexandre O. Philippe's 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene (2017) denotes the 78 set-ups and the 52 cuts across a full week of shooting for Psycho's (1960) famous shower scene. Known for The People vs. George Lucas (2010), The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus (2012) and Doc of the Dead (2014), Philippe's exploration of a singular moment is a conversational one, featuring interviews with Walter Murch, Peter Bogdanovich, Guillermo del Toro, Jamie Lee Curtis, Osgood Perkins, Danny Elfman, Eli Roth, Elijah Wood, Bret Easton Ellis, Karyn Kusama, Neil Marshall, Richard Stanley and Marli Renfro, body double for Janet Leigh.

Keep reading... Show less

Mary Poppins, Mrs. Gamp, Egyptian deities, a Japanese umbrella spirit, and a supporting cast of hundreds of brollies fill Marion Rankine's lively history.

"What can go up a chimney down but can't go down a chimney up?" Marion Rankine begins her wide-ranging survey of the umbrella and its significance with this riddle. It nicely establishes her theme: just as umbrellas undergo, in the everyday use of them, a transformation, so too looking at this familiar, even forgettable object from multiple perspectives transforms our view of it.

Keep reading... Show less

Those who regard the reclusive Argerich as one of the world's two or three greatest living pianists—classical or otherwise—would not have left the concert hall disillusioned.

In a staid city like Washington, D.C., too many concert programs still stick to the basics. An endless litany of Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky concerti clog the schedules and parades of overeager virtuosi seem unwilling to vary their repertoire for blasé D.C. concertgoers. But occasionally you encounter a concert that refreshes your perspective of the familiar. The works presented at The Kennedy Center on 25 October 2017 might be stalwarts of 20th century repertoire, but guest conductor Antonio Pappano, leading the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, reminded us how galvanizing the canonical can still be. Though grandiose executions of Respighi's The Fountains of Rome and The Pines of Rome were the main event, the sold-out crowd gathered to see Martha Argerich perform one of her showpieces, Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto. Those who regard the reclusive Argerich as one of the world's two or three greatest living pianists—classical or otherwise—would not have left the concert hall disillusioned.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.