As hard to define as post-rock is, it has one unifying ethic: experimenting with the tools and textures of rock music. In that sense, Explosions In The Sky—long considered one of the genre’s leading lights—isn’t post-rock at all. While so many of the band’s contemporaries have relentlessly challenged themselves, EITS has always had the simple goal of making beautiful, effortlessly absorbable music. Pigeonholes be damned, it’s a great goal—and to date, EITS has reliably unloaded five albums of sparkling, melodic, instrumental rock. The problem with the group on its fifth full-length, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, is that its beauty hasn’t grown a single wrinkle. The disc is another batch of soaring, guitar-spritzed tracks that echo and escalate like soundtracks to unfilmed epics. Only they don’t conjure much of anything. Even when the group flexes its dynamism—such as on the dreamily orchestral “Human Qualities,” or the mildly bipolar closer, “Let Me Back In”—the music doesn’t evoke any imagery or emotion besides a dull, numb ennui that can’t even fully commit to melancholy. Unless EITS takes a few deeper cues from the post-rock tradition and starts tinkering with itself, Take Care will stand as another one of the band’s increasingly redundant aural screensavers. That said, at least it’s a pretty one.
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