Texas symphonic rockers keep showing why words are overrated
“Tangled In A Dream.” “Disintegration Anxiety,” “Losing the Light.” Explosions in the Sky songs might not have lyrics but it’s never hard to tell where they’re coming from. The expansive Texas band’s instrumental indie-rock sound-sculpting is wrought from a sense of somber apprehension and drift, of possibility coming into focus or perhaps losing it, or both at once. In the five years since their last album, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, they’ve been focused on soundtrack work. This LP could be a soundtrack too, full of fine-grained guitar weaves (usually) spirited ahead by steely drummer Chris Hrasky. Wilderness has enough variety to keep things interesting; “Logic of A Dream” opens with doomy ambient-metal drum tumult before evolving into a baby-soft Kraut-rock zoneout; “Tangle Formations” is a restlessly agile stomper that keeps insisting it might pull off into some less rocking middle-distance but ends up staying with you until the end (like a buddy); “Colors In Space” opens evoking a post-apocalyptic nature film before getting all tensely majestic and fading into saintly white-noise; “Landing Cliffs” is like seeing a picture of a lunar surface that slowly dissolves into a West Texas landscape, or Brian Eno writing a song with Towns Van Zandt. There are times when this stuff can feel like precious melodrama. But if it hits you in the right mood of pillowy existential bumfuzzlement, its power to distract and even transport is pretty undeniable.