Release Date: 11 October 2005
In 2005, shortly after the soundtrack to Friday Night Lights set them on the path to what is probably the maximum amount of fame possible for a post-rock band, Explosions in the Sky agreed to record a short album as part of a limited-run project put together by their record label. The resulting release was titled The Rescue and was initially only available via mail order or at one of the band’s shows.
So what of this bizarre, hastily written, difficult to find record? Well, for one thing, it’s beautiful, with delicate movement and gentle arrangement defining much of the album’s duration. It’s also, arguably, the most experimental Explosions record (The Wilderness will certainly get some votes here), trying a host of sounds—including acoustic guitars and even limited vocals—that are all but absent from other Explosions recordings. And while this isn’t necessarily a qualitative claim, the album is also much more accessible than most Explosions records, with a total run time clocking in at just under 33 minutes.
Where other Explosions records are grandiose and cinematic—the band has referred to their songs as “cathartic mini-symphonies”—the eight short tracks that make up The Rescue are warm and inviting, intimate and earthy in a way that no other Explosions tracks are. That warmth, and the broad array of sounds that go into creating it, manages to create something wholly unique for the band, a sense of serenity that none of their other records can match. The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place will always be Explosions’ signature work but its similarities to both other Explosions records and the scads of albums that ape its sound mean that it doesn’t feel as singular as it once did. But The Rescue, in all its unusual and inconvenient-to-access glory, stands apart. It may be Explosions’ shortest work but it’s also their most interesting.
- Songs and Stories, 2019