By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Overheard conversation. Guy describes seeing Explosions in the Sky live.
Guy: I was kind of disappointed, because they were just improvising it all.
Girl stares blankly.
Guy: I mean, I thought their music was more thought-out than that.
I'm with the girl. Whether EITS painstakingly craft each composition or pass around a three-footer and jam is beside the point. The result is too beautiful to dismiss. It's been more than two years since their Friday Night Lights score and three since their last full-length. Mere noodling doesn't take that long.
All of A Sudden... is worth the wait. The Austin band has created their most emotionally engaging album yet. As with earlier albums, quiet and contemplative moments when reverberating piano and complicated guitar patterns interweave gradually give way to soaring, triumphant crescendos of distorted guitar, typified by the 13-minute centerpiece, "It's Natural to Be Afraid." That's no departure from their earlier work, but this album is more satisfying—maybe thanks to the beautifully melancholy closer, "So Long, Lonesome."