Sparta - Threes
I've been a Sparta fan since day one but I think the boys have lost me on Threes. Gone is the aggression that we became so accustomed to and in enters more of a prog-rock feel the the disappointing Threes. On the surface it sounds like a good idea but with the catchiness of Porcelain and Wiretap Scars seemingly gone I found Threes a hard album to get into. It should be mentioned that former At The Drive-In Guitarist Paul Hinojos is out of the Sparta camp and Keeley Davis has been brought in to replace him.
The boys start off strong on "Untreatable Disease" but quickly fade on "Crawl". This one is mellower but doesn't have enough to it to keep your attention. Probably their most boring song to date. Then they got my hopes up with the acoustic intro to "Unstitch My Mouth" but again, not quite enough substance. Ward shows some advanced vocal talent but that's about it. "Taking Back Control" is the next really rocking song of the set. If there were a few more of these then I wouldn't be so scathing. Even with this one, it sounds like a Thursday song rather than a Sparta one. The influencers are being influenced. And funny enough, "Erase It Again" sounds like a modern Neil Diamond. It's not terrible but not up to Sparta quality either. I can't help but think of Coldplay on "Atlas" guitar echo. "False Start" is pretty bad too. They leave us with the worst taste ever, a very mellow track called "Translations". Honestly, I think if I could spend another couple months with Threes I might be able to get into it. It might be one of those albums you come back to in a year or two and really enjoy, but for now it just isn't happening. This is a second rate emo album.
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on 2007-07-31 dadair Said:
This El Paso outfit that was formed by ex-At The Drive In cohorts Jim Ward (vox/guitar) and Tony Hajjar (percussion), seem to have crept surreptitiously into third album territory. There is still an abundance freshness about them, with this being their debut for ANTI RECORDS and also the first album with guitarist Keeley Davis. Who shows how easily he has bedded in by controlling the tempo in the gazing, topsy-turvy mood-builder of ‘Untreatable Disease’. Bemusement is repressed in the winding instrumental propulsion found in ‘Crawl’, but the lyrics and the lingering, heart-wrenching vocals of Ward captures philosophical bewilderment and pangs of regret perfectly;
“The difference between finding what you love
and loving what you’ve found, is killing us right now.”
Screamo territory is almost reached with help from a pulsating percussion fest from Hajar, to race alongside the vocal angst in ‘Taking Back Control’. It serves the dual purpose of being a biting anti-war cry for those who have no voice and, a release of personal indignation towards the powers that be. There is variety and emotional range aplenty, displayed from the fiery ‘Erase It Again’ through to the slow and eerie, keyboard trickled epic of ‘The Most Vicious Crime’. This shows that Spartathrees have taken a great deal of time and thought to reflect their dynamic and changing feelings. Unlike many modern bands, who are in such a hurry to get something out there that the offering invariably ends up one dimensional in this sense.
The thrusting percussion and aching vocals of ‘False Start’ and ’Weather The Storm’ will draw the emo kids into the multi-layered web of musical soul-searching. Atmospheric empiricism is also on show in the later track that seeps in an intriguing noire element, allowing you to sit back and take it all in for a brief moment. The grunge spiked ‘Weather The Storm’ and the searching, Funeral For A Friend touching power-ballad of ‘Without A Sound’, brings Ward’s versatility to the fore. Sparta have produced a thirteen track, topsy-turvy forage into the nether regions of the mind and life, bringing freshness and feeling to the task.