Texan instrumentalists Explosions In The Sky have been as close to a household name an instrumental quartet are likely to get since their seminal LP The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place surfaced in 2003. An uplifting response to the doom and despair plied by their peers, the record soon earned a rightful place in the affections of post rock aficionados everywhere with its chiming guitars, thundering drums and rapturous optimism. Their subsequent releases have sought to refine rather than reinvent the sparkling sonic wonders that set them apart on Earth... and fifth album Take Care, Take Care, Take Care is no different. For long-time listeners of the group, you'll know the drill by now: pensive and powerful, but plagued by the sense that if the group stepped out of the territory they mapped out for themselves almost decade ago their songwriting would benefit greatly.

The regular adjectives that cling to Explosions' music are no less applicable here than on previous efforts: cinematic, overblown and epic. Breezing through forty five minutes of crescendos and quietude, the band do not skimp on scale in delivering their trademark ten minute marathons; assisted by producer John Congleton, they turn Take Care... into a crushing listen full of pummelling highs and simmering lows. Across their twelve year life span the band have become seasoned professionals at sliding from serene calm to calamity. Take Care... is, again, no different. The percussive stomp of opening track 'Last Known Surroundings' is a chill-inducing marker of the quartet's lasting hold over the hairs on the back of your neck as its gruff snare stamps square up to the dissonant squall of ghostly feedback and a spiralling guitar motifs. 'Be Comfortable, Creature' meanwhile is a more delicate affair that neatly showcases the gentler side of the group: finger picked guitars and walking bass lines weaving through a tapestry of looped sounds and shuffling beats.

'Trembling Hands' is the most noticeable departure for the Texans, poised mid-album as an upbeat respite from the slow and contemplative drifting of the rest of the record. The group manages to condense their sound into a more agile three-and-a-half minutes that also encompass hushed vocals gliding about in the backdrop. It is hardly an emphatic overhaul of their songwriting ethos, but encouraging to see the band take a more economic approach to the craft, if only for the sake of change. Also showing dutiful signs of change is 'Human Qualities,' a slow-building slog peppered with hand-claps, choral accompaniment and the sort of electronic clicks-and-ticks you might expect to find dancing in the ambiance of a Múm record. A step forward for the group, sure, but whether it's enough to satisfy expectant fans who have now weathered five albums of the same old fare is hard to say. Take Care... is soothing enough to welcome it into any record collection but does little to stem the sentiment that EITS could do with a little less care and a lot more throwing caution to the wind.

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