Song 199: Explosions in the Sky, “First Breath After Coma” (2003)


It’s interesting that, given how prevalent instrumental music is in other genres—jazz and, of course, classical—that there aren’t more instrumental rock bands. After all, rock is capable of all sorts of interesting things that don’t require vocals: dramatic changes in volume, key changes, solos… And yet Explosions in the Sky seems to be one of the few bands doing this. (A more obscure example is the band El Ten Eleven.) Maybe the audience just isn’t there, who knows.

In any case, Explosions in the Sky are great at what they do, and they do have a sizable audience. The band received a big jump in popularity after their music was featured in the movie Friday Night Lights (and lovingly duplicated by W.G. Snuffy Walden for the excellent television show). I wonder who thought to use their music to score football games, because it’s a perfect fit. The drums often sound militaristic, which mirrors not only the battle-like feel of football games, but also the snare drums of marching bands, whose members, as we all know, are just as important to the games as the players (Acton-Boxborough Regional High School Marching Band, 1994-1998, suckas!).

I love this song, especially when it suddenly coalesces at around 2:27. This band has a knack for drama without going over-the-top, which I think is a pretty impressive feat. They also write melodies with no lyrics that get stuck in your head, which, in the realm of indie rock, is more impressive still.


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