explosions in the sky learned a great deal about themselves and their music while scoring the acclaimed major motion picture 'friday night lights'. besides confirming that their cathartic mini-symphonies were perfectly suited for cinema, it presented and anxious fear that their songs were becoming too easy - both to compose and to listen to. recorded by john congleton (the roots, the mountain goats) at pachyderm studios in rural minnesota, the album is a massive leap forward, showcasing a broader instrumental range and their most focused, efficient songwriting. it's also within arm's length of matching the overwhelming glory of their legendary live shows, trading in the crystalline production of the earth is not a cold dead place for a paint-peeling intensity that blurs the lines between studio and live performance. they're also the very rare band that fans of sigur ros, sufjan stevens and my chemical romance can all agree on.