Explosions in the Sky’s career has been forever marred by the events Sep. 11, 2001. Their first major label album, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever, was released one week before the tragic day.

Their second album, The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, is their rebuttal. With tracks titled “First Breath After Coma” and “Memorial.” It is ironic then that their first, self-recorded album was always titled How Strange, Innocence.

When the band was seven months old, they hit the studio creating a raw albeit promising album of esoteric, instrumental rock. Only 300 CD-R copies of How Strange, Innocence were released and sold out of the group’s van and at shows.

While many groups re-master and rework early albums, Explosions in the Sky re-release theirs in its original form. The airy, dry percussion on “Snow and Lights” is a sign of the group’s immaturity. The droning distortion of the guitars on “Look Into the Air” is again, a youthful indulgence. How Strange, Innocence presents these defects as stepping-stones for a band’s musical progression.

Despite these shortcomings, the group is able to produce an optimistic sound not present on their later efforts. “Remember me as a Time of Day” has their signature military drum rolls and hopeful guitar lines.

How Strange, Innocence is not Explosion in the Sky’s masterpiece. It’s a leap back in time to when the group had no pretenses: They were simply four kids from Texas looking to make music as massive as their home state.

 

Rating: 3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars

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