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Sparta | Wiretap Scars | review | alternative | rock | Lollipop


Wiretap Scars (DreamWorks)
by Tim Den

Sparta has emerged from At The Drive-In's cocoon soaring like a butterfly, its melodic wings tinged with bitter poetry and howling whirlwinds. Damn the naysayers: No afros in the world can make an album as powerful, catchy, and well-paced as Wiretap Scars. Guitarist (and now vocalist) Jim Ward sings better than Cedric Bixler but doesn't move as much on stage. Big deal. Get over it. If you want crazy stage antics, go see The Bad Luck 13 Extravaganza. If you want meticulous songs that draw upon downtempo electronica, Fugazi, Braid, and with enormous helpings of soul-bearing sing-alongs, this is the shiznit (as they say in "the hood").

Opener "Cut Your Ribbon" ignites the airwaves with minor-to-major choruses and incendiary guitars, before "Air" comes in shaking its mid-tempos at your hips. A re-recorded (but less immediate) version of "Mye" later, album-stealer "Collapse" confronts your demons and casts them down with piercing vocal declarations. And it doesn't stop there: "Red Alibi," "Rx Coup," "Glasshouse Tarot," and "Echodyne Harmonic" deliver a quadruple combo of unstoppable choruses (these guys should really write TV jingles... they're that catchy!), closing out the album with "Assemble the Empire" and its Cave In-ish guitar writhings.

A breathless trip cuz you just can't stop singing along, Wiretap Scars is without a doubt one of the year's best. Who needs reunion rumors when the new's so much better than the old?


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