Threes review by Sparta

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  • Released: Oct 24, 2006
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (31 votes)
Sparta: Threes
2

Sound — 8
Sparta formed on the ruins of once potential rock band called At The Drive-In. When the guys broke up in 2001, Jim Ward (vocals/guitar), Paul Hinojos (guitar) and Tony Hajjar (drums) quickly picked up a name Sparta and started performing punk-inspired shows under it with bassist Matt Miller joining in a few months. It didn't take them long to sign a deal with a record label and the band produced two quite successful LPs over three years. They started recording their third album Threes in January 2005 while still being on tour to support their previous album Porcelain. But due to the problems with the record label and the lost of one member it took them a year and a half to finish it. Threes, out on the 24th October, shows us a renewed Sparta -- with a new guitarist Keeley Davis and a new record label Hollywood Records. Working on Threes, the band made a decision to ignore all the rules and just made the songs they liked. The record turned out to be quite impulsive and emotional. You can never guess when it's going to explode or break up. Quiet tearful parts are mixed with aggressive, loud, storming ones. A lot of tracks are like a catastrophe -- trashing drums, distorted guitars and yelling vocals and at the same time the songs are very melodic. Bombing guitars are layered one upon another with killer guitar lines on top of that. It's obvious the band is evolving and their third record is a lot different than their debut. There are only a couple tracks that would remind you of Sparta's punk past (like False Start). Threes is more about hard-core and emo with a little bit of alternative rock mixed in. A lot of tracks are using the same formula emo bands adore -- peaceful verses and loud choruses. Like the opener Untreatable Disease that gives you a clear idea of what it's gonna be like for the next 50 minutes. Indie ballad Erase It Again is a lighter track, compared to the rest of the album. It features a very U2-ish guitars and vocals. Where The Streets Have No Name was probably the prototype of the song. Red. Right. Return has a catchy chorus with the same melody line being repeated at least six times within one try. At the end it's hard not to be remember it. The Most Vicious Crime has a beautiful grand piano that creates intimacy at the end of the song. In spite of it's emo side, the music is energetic and you won't get bored even if you're not a huge emo fan.

Lyrics — 8
Vocalist Jim Ward admits Sparta were influenced by Radiohead recording Threes. In the softer parts of the songs you can hear Tom York in Ward's vocals -- they are delicate and gentle, singing every note with care. In the more intense tracks Ward's making sounds similar to a howl of a wounded animal, while telling us about all the depressive stuff. He's got a good vocal range, which is a great opportunity to sing anywhere the song takes you, not where you can reach. Whatever it is he is singing, it's always very passionate. Keeley Davis has not only been a great find for a guitar player, he also presents some choral multiplied back vocals, not always audible though. The closer Translation has Merry Clayton back vocals, performing some soul-music exercises, for more intense at the end. Clayton's impressive singing is worth to be listened to even without accompaniment, but is given a very modest role here being covered by guitars.

Overall Impression — 8
The atmosphere of the album is pretty gloomy, it's definitely not a record to cheer you up. It's about suffering, struggling through and the emotional pain. Sparta made every song individual, generous for different guitar and computer effects to color it. Overall it sounds very organic in spite of all the different things thrown in the mix. The guys worked hard on the record -- they wrote almost 30 songs just to pick up 12 of them worth to make an album. Thus Threes is solid from the beginning to the end and is the most impressive Sparta release up to date. It deserves at least to be given a try; weather you'll like it or not is a matter of taste.

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    rank-n-file
    I listened to the album on their myspace. Freaking good shit! But...Wiretap Scars is still their best work.
    Fossilized Love
    Sparta's compared to ATDI too much. Anywhere I hear Sparta, ATDI is sure to follow. Damn critics.
    shotgunjoe
    Fossilized Love wrote: Sparta's compared to ATDI too much. Anywhere I hear Sparta, ATDI is sure to follow. Damn critics.
    Exactly. I can see the similarity, but I still view them as a different band. This album came across to me as very experimental for a band like Sparta which I like (especially Weather The Storm), but I think Paul made the right move by moving to The Mars Volta as they are a better band overall. I can see what Paul meant, I recently left a band like Sparta for a band more experimental (like The Mars Volta) and it is much more fun. But this album is definetely Sparta's finest work, with Porcelain and Wiretap Scars a close second.
    jahyarain
    will be picking up a copy tonight. and it is kinda weird how when you see Sparta, ATDI is not far behind, yet i don't see the same thing happening with TMV, even though ATDI is far superior to either of the others. but that's just my opinion...
    Dystiller
    In my opinion Threes is Sparta's worst release to date, I don't understand why people can't realize that. Wiretap scars was way better. don't waste your time on this band, listen to the better half of ATD-I... The Mars Volta
    Shwing it up
    Threes doesnt come close to Wiretap Scars or Porcelain but u cant just say the cd is shit. Crawl, Unstitch Your Mouth, Taking Back Control, The Most Vicious Crime, Weather The Storm, are all amazing songs that i cant stop listening to, and im sure ill like others as i listen to the cd more, but i am a little dissapointed that its not as hard rock as their other cds.
    Shwing it up
    Threes doesnt come close to Wiretap Scars or Porcelain but u cant just say the cd is bad. Crawl, Unstitch Your Mouth, Taking Back Control, The Most Vicious Crime, Weather The Storm, are all amazing songs that i cant stop listening to, and im sure ill like others as i listen to the cd more, but i am a little dissapointed that its not as hard rock as their other cds.
    friendlyp
    You guys are must be def and fear change. Threes is the best complete album I have heard from any band this decade! Sit down and really listen to it before you go off the cuff with your half assed remarks! I say it is the best Sparta work yet!
    Bulls.On.Parade
    It sucks that Porcelain didn't get any media attention, that's my pick for best album since 2000 (followed closely by TMV's De-loused in the Comatorium and RHCP's By the Way). Personally, I despise when people call them Emo. Does singing about sad things make you emo? Damn...I guess RHCP should be emo too...and hey, let's through Pearl Jam in there too. Sparta is NOT Emo, for the last time, they're definitely Post-Hardcore/Post-Grunge and very Experimental. They're not Alternative. They're not Emo. Learn definitions. Threes is Amazing, go buy it, I like it as much as Porcelain...maybe a bit more. It's a tough call.
    ADropps7
    Threes is a great album its nice to see Sparta continue to experiment and progress. Why are so many people all over The Mars Volta's nuts. I tried to like them, but thier music is usually a trainwreck. TMV is a perfect example of what happens when bands try way too hard to be artsy and progressive.
    Mr Pringle
    Threes ****ing rocks, Jim Ward has come a lot way and is a fantastic guitarist.