Sound — 6
The whole of the album sounds caustic and chaotic at first listen. Some of the tracks ("Hiss The Villain" and "splinters") sound like Disney versions of rejected "At The Drive-In" songs and don't mesh with Sparta's dreary art-rock image. The singer's singing often feels forced and out-of-place. However, upon multiple listens we are able to see the Sparta beyond the sometimes annoying outer shell. Tracks like "Breaking The Broken" and "While Oceana Sleeps" show how good sparta can be when they are good. The multiple guitar lines are inspiring to guitarists and humbling to song-writers everywhere. Maybe they need better production or maybe just better guitar effects.
Lyrics — 4
The Lyrics are by far the most disappointing part of the album. Past Sparta songs were lush with compelling and creative phrases. Now we are left with non-senseical mumbling as the singer stagers his way through verses that don't mean anything and choruses that mean much less. The lyrics do comply with the music but they could comply with any type of music. They don't even go deep or smart enough to rule out them apearing in a pop song. Sparta does have a gift for sublty but this album is way too sublte. The lyrics don't evoke any emotion or inspiration beyond the listener thinking to themself that they could do a better job. The singer has a vocal range high enough to keep most of these songs off the "parking lot behind the skate-shop" kareoke list and reserve sing-a-longs for concerts where no one can hear your voice break. However, he has a tone that only a mother (or punk fan) could love.
Overall Impression — 10
The most impresive song on the album is "While Oceana Sleeps", which is bound to be an indie Ipod mainstay for years to come. The least impressive are the instumental tracks that feel contrived and like they are just there to eat up time. Overall I liked the album and can't stop listening to it. Maybe that's all that matters. Maybe our standards of "good" music are warped. Maybe the fact that I'm enjoying the album is all that matters. If it got lost or stolen I would definetly buy another, and I would recomend that you buy it also.