When you hear the words, “The Birth and Death of Day,” you assume that it is sunrise and sunset; a momentary time period lost by most but greatly appreciated when seen. For Explosions in the Sky, “The Birth and Death of Day,” means more than just a few minutes of heaven and earth (seven minutes, to be precise). It’s the beginning of their album All Of A Sudden, I Miss Everyone,” a melancholy blend of guitars and symbol crashes dedicated to the sweet tone of existential beauty while resembling the movements of the sun. For their sixth album, the four piece instrumental band from Texas begins the New Year with another tribute to musical poetry. There is something you come to terms with when listening to the album. At first, you wonder whether or not the little break of sun will shine throughout the day, and then it transcends to the next track. “Welcome, Ghosts,” a repetition of rhythms and tones painting the canvas of sunlight brightly rather than the gloom its name brings.
In comparison with their previous albums, All Of A Sudden, I Miss Everyonedelivers a focus on sharply branded musical lyricism. The shape of each song folds gently within one another and causes the listener to daydream rather than face reality. Improving their music writing talents, Explosions in the Sky brings to light a new sense of their music. Instead of the overwhelming tracks of angry guitar and almost lifeless tracks of their archived albums, All Of A Sudden… proves to the audience that they have not lost their touch, but bettered it.
Finally, in the descending feeling of the sunset, Explosions in the Sky finishes their album with a melodic piano verse called “So Long, Lonesome.” The shortest track on the album, the three minutes of childlike piano solos and guitar, hands the listener the finale- a most dramatic dream of melodic beauty. The sun reaches the earth once again and breaks the dawn of another place.
Hatchie – Keepsake
Keepsake, the debut album by Brisbane dream pop artist Hatchie is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars
Brisbane indie-pop artist Hatchie (known to her friends and family as Harriette Pilbeam) is in the envious position of being a pop artist unspoiled by the many trappings of what it is to be a modern pop artist. Unlike some of her contemporaries who craft music by committee or with Sheeran-like self-importance, Hatchie is as of now, unsullied by the pressures of the cookie-cutter pop machine. Hatchie’s debut full length is a showcase for a talent who is supremely confident and composed in her abilities, and Keepsake is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars. The album is also a wonderful throwback to pop’s dreamy 60s influences that shuffle in and out of this delirium while working alongside distinctly more current musical touches.
There is the lush dream pop sounds of “Without a Blush”, taking cues from the best of what Stars and Goldfrapp conjure but heaping a tonne of Pilbeam’s charisma on it. Like her vocals, “Without a Blush” has this elegance that has the ability to elevate songs from being beautiful to grand. It is the kind of vocal elegance that really shines through on songs like the skittering, beat-driven “Obsessed” and the alternative, guitar-fuelled (yay!) “When I Get Out”. Indie/electronic closer “Keep” is a wonderful end to proceedings.
However, the great strength of Keepsake is not just its composure in how all the songs have been put together. It is also this genuine, natural-sounding quality that permeates the album- nothing overly written, overly produced or put together by research groups or music analysts. It just sounds like talent. We can argue that much of pop music is constructed to appease the moment- designed to grab as much attention as possible in an A.D.D. world. And sure, that can be said about almost any kind of music, but the resulting aural tone of Keepsake is anything but transient or transparent.
The best way to combat tepid chart-topping music is to write better pop songs. Songs like “Her Own Heart” and the disco-toned “Stay” are examples of pop music that come across as timeless. We are moved by the songs found on Keepsake when we listen to them today. And I suspect that in 10 years time, or in 20, we will most likely feel the same. It is rare to find the sort of ageless beauty you find on Keepsake.