in the Sky
All of the Sudden I Miss Everyone
Temporary Residence; February 2007

Explosions in the Sky’s instrumental post-rock with a capital
“R” relies on the standard soft-loud dynamic, but is played with an
earnest melodrama that sets the band apart from its peers. Its
latest album refines its approach and catches the group on the
verge of a potential mainstream breakthrough. A recent appearance
on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, as well as a successful
tour in progress, can only help the group’s cause. And for the new
listener, All of the Sudden’s penultimate track,
“Catastrophe and the Cure,” distills the essence of the group’s
appeal. Though the band’s self-consciously epic sound may not
appeal to everyone, its latest record is one of the first standout
releases of 2007.  – Max Burke

West Lost Highway; February 2007

At times achingly gorgeous, and at others aggravatingly grating,
Lucinda Williams’s new album feels a lot like 2001’s
Essence. These songs don’t conform to traditional
verse-chorus-verse structure, instead meandering for minutes at a
time with little change. This doesn’t mean West is boring. Rather,
it’s the work of an artist who is confident enough to explore
different approaches to making her music. As a result, West feels
like a movie score, one song blending into another, the sum greater
than the parts. Watch out for three songs that are nearly
unlistenable and should have been left out – “Unsuffer Me” indeed.
Edit out these 20 minutes, and you’re listening to another
sublimely brilliant album by an American original.  – Derek

Neon Bible Merge Records; March 2007

Genuine articles emerge two, maybe three times in any pop music
era. Arcade Fire is ours. Sure, Win Butler courts a disastrous
fixation with anthems. But this CD, with its murkier grounding,
keeps floating up surprises. Butler sings a lot about God. (He’s
très doubtful.) More often, though, he invokes a blue
vision of the U.S. in a scouring voice that soars over a
caffeinated beat. Railing against dropping bombs, the White House,
door-to-door salespeople, and “the sea of violence between us,” he
employs a pipe organ and other human instruments of grandeur.
Butler doesn’t want to live in his father’s house no more. And
heeding the band’s passion, you’ll likely believe rock music offers
some salvation from it.  – D.J. Palladino

The Light Divides Signature Records; February 2007

Harmonizing in rock music is becoming an increasingly rare art
form, though one spin of Winterpills will leave you wondering why
that is. Laid over lush, sonic landscapes that bring to mind early
Radiohead, the voices of Philip Price, Flora Reed, and Dennis
Crommett weave seamlessly into one another. The result is a
beautifully melancholic album better suited to the fall months when
light falls clean and white in the afternoon. And though a few
tracks fall a bit flat – “A Ransom” declares, “This is what you
will wear at the end of the world,” but oddly draws to mind
medieval minstrels – as a whole, The Light Divides is
worth a listen during just about any season.  – Sarah


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