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Explosions in the Sky at Chicago Theatre | Concert preview

Cinematic rockers Explosions in the Sky and Zammuto speak volumes with hardly any words.
Photograph: Molly Frost Zammuto
By Mia Clarke |

As one half of popular experimental duo the Books, guitarist-vocalist Nick Zammuto has spent the last decade sculpting songs out of found-sound samples. Since announcing in January that the band is officially done and dusted, the fast-moving Massachusetts native has struck out on his own with an appropriately (if somewhat boringly) named outfit, Zammuto.

Zammuto retains his previous band’s genre-defying spirit while crafting an ambitious eponymous album crammed with glittery guitar lines, spacious vocals and highly detailed electronic patterns that splinter in all directions. The band also features Books guitarist-keyboardist Gene Back, drummer Sean Dixon and Zammuto’s brother, Mikey, on bass.

All members do a top job of adding depth to the album’s soothing, expansive feel, smoothing out the sharp, glassy edges of the electronic samples with a subdued veil of hazy vocals and innovative drum patterns. Zammuto exudes the urgency of a musician teeming with ideas as he finds his own voice in a new realm.

The bustling new project should prove a compatible opening act for post-rockers Explosions in the Sky. Although the Texas five-piece has spawned countless tiresome rip-offs since it began 13 years ago, the ponderous instrumental act is the real deal. Emotive, immense crescendos building from tiptoe guitar prettiness is the band’s M.O., and the cinematic swells will no doubt sound spectacular filling the Chicago Theater’s golden interior.

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