Explosions In The Sky

At once cathartic and exhausting

On consideration the Barrowlands seems a strange venue for the Texan instrumental quartet to play.

On execution, the star-ceiling ballroom couldn’t have suited them better – providing them with a theatre-like setting where their cinematic soundscapes could flourish. They play a well-balanced set with material from all four of their studio albums featuring. Songs like ‘First Breath After A Coma’, ‘Memorial’ and ‘Greet Death’ are at once cathartic and exhausting.

Audience participation of the highest level – the songs, somehow unobtrusively despite their scale, demand you to etch an understanding out of the undulating patterns swimming in your ears. Despite the fact the bass amps felt like they were going to split you in two at any moment, the sound was sublime – the introspective moments, beautifully suspended in the air, the loud, sludgy guitar work: colossal. And while their songs follow a sort of classical template – intertwining and deviating three chord guitar arrangements, quiet parts, loud parts – it is never boring.

The crowd is held enthralled by the meticulous synchronisation of the band, the discreet but complicated rhythm fluctuations. It really is music to surrender yourself – and your snobbery – to. Aside from a few gushes at the beginning from Munaf Rayani, the band stayed silent. A wise decision – with music so tormented, epic and eloquent, lyrics and speech are absolutely redundant.

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