decade aquarium drunkard

What is it that makes us want to deconstruct art by units of time? Lists. We love making them. We love arguing over them. And here, on the verge of a new decade, we’re in a position to do the same again. What were the best albums of the past ten years?

Here at AD, we started talking it through and decided we weren’t going to add to the cacophony of lists being put out by various music pubs. There are enough of those. Rather, we elected to let our four main writers have a chance to write about any and all of the albums they felt shaped the last decade.

From now through the end of December, Monday through Thursday, AD will feature a post, or posts, from a particular writer detailing their favorite albums of the decade. On a given week there might be one album a writer talks about, there might be six, but they’ll get a chance to have their say on everything that comes to mind. Our hope for you, the reader, is that you’ll jump in with your comments on the album selections – tell us why you agree or disagree – and also be exposed to some albums that you may have missed over the last ten years. Now, as the decade starts to wind down, let’s celebrate.

51PTD5GZNVL._SS500_Though they flexed serious post-rock muscle on 2001’s Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die…, it was on the cupidic wings of ‘03’s The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place that Explosions in the Sky truly swooned into the spotlight.  Largely a departure from The Truth’s mortars-and-distortion attack, The Earth spins out a five-song cycle of instrumental music that rises and falls like a heart monitor, exploring love and heartache with all the slowly-turning power of epic poetry.  These songs are patient, unspooling themselves over decades of minutes and winding around a trio of pinging guitars and Chris Hrasky’s insistent drumming.

It may not be a cold, dead place, but the guitars here flutter like falling leaves, and for all of the album’s heart—and this is one of the most seriously and genuinely emotional records I’ve ever heard—its topsoil is mostly filled with heartache; everything pulls itself apart in “The Only Moment We Were Alone”, feedback harmonizes like a heavenly host in “Memorial”.

But it’s love—ever patient—that wins the day.  The quartet slips into “Your Hand in Mine” out of “Memorial”’s feedback fallout, and they start putting everything together again.  The three guitars peel over one another in sticky lines, teasing out the kinks and pulling at their riffs until finally, somewhere around the seven-minute mark, they all fall into the hook, and everything—song, smiles, and arms–stretches out from there. words/ m. garner

MP3: Explosions In The Sky :: Your Hand In Mine

+ Download Explosions In The Sky via eMusic’s 25 free MP3 no risk trial offer

6 Responses to “Decade :: The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place”

  1. Wow, great write-up! “First Breath After Coma” is instrumental perfection.

  2. I completely agree. There is more emotion conveyed in this instrumental album than 99% of the stuff out there now that try to convey emotion through lyrics.

  3. God bless, I forgot how amazing this album is. I used to spin this every week for, like, four months on my radio show in college. It’s one of the best fall albums.

  4. This album is timeless- i have listened to it as i ran a marathon and i will listen to it before bed.
    Hands down one of the 10 best albums this decade

  5. A complete and amazing piece of music. While I couldn’t get in to the venue for their SXSW show this year, it was still just as powerful to hear the final minutes of “The Only Moment We Were Alone” from all the way out on the South 1st St. bridge.

  6. Jeff–my introduction to EITS was when they opened for Modest Mouse at Stubbs during ACL 04, and hearing the blisters of “Greet Death” from the street behind the venue. It’s amazing–they’re so good live that you can feel how powerful they are from outside of the venue. FWIW, the break at the end of “The Only Moment We Were Alone” is epic live. Like, punch the air and scream and cry-type good.

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