Not Your Typical Explosion
Explosions in the Sky have been making soundtrack music from the beginning, whether they considered it so or not. Categorically referred to as “post rock,” the band has always been orchestral in nature; they’re quite aware of loud versus soft as they move from understated to roaring and deftly maneuvering all the dynamics in between. All the elements for a good score have been there, and it became official in 2004 with their participation in the film Friday Night Lights, as well as the follow-up television series. It was only a matter of time before the boys dug into film again.
Well, now they’ve teamed up with composer David Wingo to score Prince Avalanche, an offbeat comedy starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch as two men out in the wilderness, painting highway lines and becoming unlikely friends. Besides film, Wingo is known for the textured acoustic band Ola Podrida, and the “songs” on this record sound like a fine mesh of everyone involved, favoring their respective softer side. However, there is not much in the way of guitar bombast, with many of the choices being acoustically driven.
Unlike the tracks on a “regular” EITS record, most of these tracks are barely two or three minutes long, just long enough to get the ideas going before abruptly bailing out. As (well executed) instrumental music often does, each piece conjures its own pictures and moods and characters regardless of their place in the film. This allows for not only new discoveries on repeated listens, but a personalized experience for the listener, tapping into their unique associations and emotions. How the score to Prince Avalanche rates in comparison to earlier works by Explosions in the Sky or David Wingo is hardly worth considering, largely because a soundtrack tends to be a tailored work, specific to the film it serves. The only proper evaluation comes by seeing the film itself or by listening to the album loudly in a dark room by yourself, letting your mind tell its own story.