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Quizá debería ir a por el impacto de At The Drive-In aquí. Quiero decir, a excepción de Fugazi y Neurosis, ¿existen otras bandas post-hardcore que tienen tanto para proclamarse de ser la real definición del género? Bueno, se separaron hace 5 o 6 años, por lo que realmente no importa.

Lo que importa es que Sparta es uno de las dos grandes bandas surgidas de la desaparición de At The Drive-In. En un sentido, era la más lógica de las dos bandas, Jim Ward, Paul Hinojos y Tony Hajjar continúan una ruta más suave, que se parecía mucho a la versión más soft de ATDI en canciones como “Napoleón Solo” & “Invalid Litter Dept. ” De hecho, Porcelain, su segundo lanzamiento, triunfó sobre su aparente contra, The Mars Volta y su ‘De-Loused in the Comatorium’. Sparta había hecho sin duda un nombre por sí misma fuera de su pasado, e incluso con la salida del guitarrista Paul Hinojos, no pude dejar de esperar algo especial de los Tres.

Después de escuchar el álbum, sin embargo, no podía dejar de querer más. Sparta ciertamente puede crear una canción excelente, “Taking Back Control” es una canción de rock potente con una intensa batería de Tony Hajjar y una actuación compasiva en vocales de Jim Ward. Ward y Keeley Davis manejan todo el trabajo de guitarra en el álbum, como lo demuestran los riffs entrelazados que se encuentran en esta pista muy. Aunque no son tan intrincados como los que se encuentran en trabajos anteriores.

Sin abusar de la comparación, pero en un sentido Sparta ciertamente suena como una versión conglomerada de At The Drive-In, Sunny Day Real Estate, Fugazi y Dredg. Ellos mantienen un sentido de la ira y la tecnicidad de su producción anterior, pero se mezcla más con el sentimentalismo y la magia que la mayoría de las pistas que ATDI podría ofrecer.

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I should probably go on about the impact of At the Drive-In here. I mean, come on, except for Fugazi and Neurosis, are there any other post-hardcore bands that have as much a claim to being the true definition of the genre? Well, they broke up 5 or 6 years ago, so who really cares.

What matters is that Sparta is one of the two major bands to come about out of the demise of said At the Drive-In. In a sense, they were the more logical of the two splintered bands; Jim Ward, Paul Hinojos and Tony Hajjar continued on a more mellow path that strongly resembled softer At the Drive-In songs like “Napoleon Solo” and “Invalid Litter Dept.” In fact, Porcelain, their second offering, trumped their apparent counter-band The Mars Volta only offering at the time, De-Loused in the Comatorium. Sparta had certainly made a name for itself outside of its past, and even with the departure of guitarist Paul Hinojos, I couldn’t help but expect something special from Threes.

After listening to the album, though, I couldn’t help but want more. Sparta can certainly craft an excellent song; “Taking Back Control[“ is a powerful rock song with intense drumming from Tony Hajjar and a compassionate vocal performance from Jim Ward. Ward and Keeley Davis handle all the guitar work on the album well, as evidenced by the intertwining riffs found on this very track. While not as intricate as those found on “previous” works, its still a noted accomplishment.

Not to overuse the phrase, but in a sense Sparta certainly sounds like a conglomerated version of At the Drive-In, Sunny Day Real Estate, Fugazi and dredg. They retain a sense of anger and technicality of their former output, but mix it in with far more sentimentality and catchiness than most AtD-I tracks could offer. Songs often flow from soft, trancelike phases into balls to the wall guitar riff-age, most often with irresistibly catchy wails from Ward in the background. Most of them being sublime experiences, easily listenable despite the abrasive qualities they often possess.

This ends up being something of a downfall, however. Even when the songs get hot and heavy, they never really catch your ear. Sure, its all easily digestible, but its also rather unmemorable. There are some moments of bliss (the soft guitar interlude during “Weather the Storm” is beautifully done), and even occasionally the songs benefit from not being immediately hard hitting. However, when you’re attempting to listen to the album, it becomes tiring trying to find a moment to latch onto, to have “that moment” that you IM all your friends about.

So, the album is kind of boring. Big deal, right? It certainly has plenty of good going for it. It’s really quite a serene experience, and altogether quite well crafted. But…then theres nagging feeling. Everythings sort of the same. Albeit, if you’re going to have that happen with a record, 50 minutes is the ideal length. Sure, there’s a lot of the same, but its not that much, and it is spread out over 50 minutes anyways. Then again, you really wish they would do a little bit more with their influences. They seem to take the same Fugazi bits, the same dredg atmospheres, the same At the Drive-In guitar lines and use them over and over. While they use them all in a new, fresh way, it would still be nice to see them branch a bit further out with who they take ideas from.

Altogether, I like Threes. Is it a worthy follow-up to Porcelain? Heavens no. That album sounded inspired, and Threes seems to be a rather safe attempt in its wake. Does that mean its bad album? Oh hell no; there are some great tunes here, and no song in particular is bad, just boring and unneeded. Threes borders on the edge of greatness and is oh so close to hitting it, and maybe in time it will grow on me more. For now, it’s a good album with more than enough to like about it.

o en Sputnik



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