Wiretap Scars Review

artist: Sparta date: 04/11/2005 category: compact discs
Sparta: Wiretap Scars
Released: Aug 13, 2002
Genre: Rock
Tones: Angst-Ridden, Tense/Anxious, Confrontational, Rebellious
Styles: Punk Revival, Emo
Number Of Tracks: 12
 Sound: 8.8
 Lyrics: 8.4
 Overall Impression: 8.8
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reviews (5) user comments vote for this album:
overall: 8
Wiretap Scars Reviewed by: stellar_legs, on november 25, 2003
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Sound: Producers take note: Wiretap Scars is a prime example of perfect record production and mixing. Everything shines through clearly. Eveything that is meant to be interprated is gotten across. The production is so clean and crisp you could cut it with a knife. Was that a rant on the album? No, just simply stating that the sound quality here is crystal clear. As for the album, there are problems, but not enough to spoil your fun with Sparta's debut, the band formed from the ashes of At The Drive In in 2000. There were two sides to the story: the spacey, prog rock of ATDI that apparently travelled with Cedric and Omar in Mars Volta, and then there's the cruncy guitars and chugging rythms that have followed over the fence to Sparta. Singer Jim Ward never goes beyond the simple here, with moderatly slow riffs, that bathe in beautiful effects that either pierce the heart, or break it. Melancholy and bitter-sweet, this album swims in an ocean of reverb and Strokes-like mumbling at the hands of Ward. The album starts off ferocious with the cutting explosion of "Cut Your Ribbon." It's the only evidence of punk roots on the entire album, besides the punk-rules abiding soft/loud riffing of "Air." Almost screaming up blood, the rest of the album takes a break, which is very evident of the beautiful piano/guitar like "Collapse." Over an echoing guitar line and muffled, spacey lyrics, industrial-ish guitars break the chorus, with white spire distortion tearing up the end. It's a beautiful song that completely owns your ass for 4 minutes. The best here is the mysterious, very powerful "Cataract." After an electronic intro breaks way, a repeated, fuzzy guitar line holds Ward's trademark whisper-quiet lyrics, which surprise the listener when not expected with a ferocious chorus, offering an insanely catchy hook. Some more of that punk rock breaks in at the songs outro, with strummed octaves riding the song to finish. But for all of the quality tracks, there is a bit of filler. "Glasshouse Tarot" is too monotanous and hook-less to sit through, while "Assemble the Empire" starts of with an interesting guitar line, but falls flat before the chorus. But add the headbanging "Rx Coup" and the good outweighs the bad. // 8

Lyrics: Ward can write some lyrics. Problem is, most of it is rambling. Very clever use of words, and brilliant ideas, but most of these songs don't rhyme. But as Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke would agree: It's not what you say, it's how you say it. And in that case, Ward excels. His lyrics are very intriguing and mysterious, but some of the finest moments happen in "Collapse" ("His body's shut down in Bordeaux/and on the shore of Gold Coast/On the balcony I search for sleep") The bands Spanish heritage shine through on these tracks, and the band's ability to tell a short story are incredible, as on tracks like "Cataract", "Air", or "Mye" would prove. Do these lyrics paint a scene? Defenitly. Is what's going on in that scene always clear? Not all of the time. // 8

Overall Impression: Shroud in mystery, left in haunting reverb, Wiretap Scars will intrigue anyone who stumbles upon it. Not for everyone, the effects could be too much for minimalist to appreciate. But the hooks and absolutely monster guitar riffs assure it: This is one of the greatest unsung rock guitar albums ever. Soem of these songs might fail, but the roaring, haunting, killer guitar will hook you, line and sinker. A must for rock guitarist with a simple approach to there craft. // 8

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overall: 10
Wiretap Scars Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 03, 2004
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Sound: Yeah, this is probably the best CD I own next to De-Loused in the Comatorium. Everything on this CD is really good. I think the guitar stuff is good because they use alot of effects, and weird chords. I think Jim and Paul are really good guitar players. Also Tony is like the best drummer in the world, Jon Theadore (The Mars Volta) is real good too. And Matt is reall good at bass. I like his bass for Glasshouse Tarot. His bass for mye is cool also. I would rate like every song ten out of ten because the cd is really good. Also the piano Echodyne Harmonic is real nice. that wierd part at the end before its gets loud is keyboard played through a guitar amp with distortion on. i think that is pretty creative. My favorite songs would have to be Red Alibi, Glasshouse Tarot, and Sans Cosm. But every song is super good. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics on this cd are really cool. A lot of it doesn't make sense at all, thats why I really like it or sometimes it's just really cool sounding. Everything fits real well like the music and lyrics. // 10

Overall Impression: Yeah, this is defiently is a really good cd. Buy it. Also the new cd Porcelin is going to be really good. I was at one of their concert preview shows and I heard some of their new sings and I think if your a fan of this cd then you will really enjoy the new CD. Tony's drums on his the villan (porcelin) are really good and cool to watch. So be ready for the new CD. But yeah buy this cd and the austree EP. I don't have the Austree EP but I have heard vacant skies and I like that song, and the other trhree are on this cd so I dont know what im really talking about but buy this cd. I would defiently buy it again if I lost it. Finally, I would say check out the Mars Volta too if you like Sparta. The Mars Volta is the other half of at the drive-in and there music is probably the best ever. // 10

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overall: 9.3
Wiretap Scars Reviewed by: kcsk8r, on june 16, 2004
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Sound: They use a lot of different styles on this cd. They go from clean to distorted in songs, which even if you do that only when you are performing and not when you came up with the song gives it a good impression. They combine their emo style which normally I don't like except from few select bands, and use the modern rock which I think is more accepted than any other type of music. Their keyboard also leaves a great impression. normally I would not agree with a keyboard in a band except for on select songs, like Led Zep did. But they have taken keyboarding above and beyond. Normally, the keyboard will just be another rhythm instrument, but it matches up with their lead. They guitar parts are not as edited and touched up as normal. If you think that's not true and no one does that, listen to track number 8 on this cd, or Red Alibi. Overall, I rate the sound a five. // 10

Lyrics: Their lyrics are somewhat disagreeable, but in such a way that it leaves an impression of punk but not with the metal music. Their singer could be better, but their songwriter is a great (wo)man. The lyrics always go with the music, for example in Cut Your Ribbon, as the guitar and bass play loudly and with enough distortion to be noticed, but not so much to where you cannot notice the clean edge, their singer Jim Ward screams "Cut Your Ribbon." My overall impression the lyrics left on me was a 4. // 8

Overall Impression: I would say there are some albums better than this, but this can beat out a few. De-Loused in the Comatorium by the Mars Volta is ahead in my book of this cd, but this cd passes up Switchfoot, Three Days Grace, Shinedown and Smile Empty Soul on my cd rack. I would definitely reccomend to all of you emo, punk and rock listeners to pick up this cd on your next trip to the cd store. // 10

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overall: 8
Wiretap Scars Reviewed by: 07Hoobastank07, on july 01, 2004
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Sound: When I first heard the single: Cut Your Ribbon, my first impression was a catchy song, with good a beat and strong melody, but the vocals didn't really sound great, as I listened longer I got used to his voice and the style of singing, the style is new aged punk, they compare to many of the new age screamo punk bands with a melodic edge. They have very strong instrumentation. Great sound. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics are fairly catchy, a effective. The words work with the bands music stylings. The writings aren't as good as a comparative band like Thursday but they are decent. The singer has a different voice and the vocals aren't anything you've heard before. I warmed up to the singing quickly and, listened to them as often as I could. // 8

Overall Impression: It is a great cd compared to early recordings I had heard before. They have developed their sound and found this CD a great way to occupy my first week of summer. I dove into the recording and found that the song, Cut Your Ribbon, is my favourite song on the album. The catchy chorusses and talented instrumentation is what helped me make the decision on buying the album. If I had lost it I would probably buy it again, because it is a solid album and it was extremely cheap, $9 canadian. I recommend this album if you like bands like Thursday, or AFI, or any edgey punk music. // 8

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overall: 8
Wiretap Scars Reviewed by: punkman_123, on april 11, 2005
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Sound: The sound of this band is awesome. It has a real garage-band feel to it which promotes their unique style of music. I'd call their genre a mix between punk, alternative and rock. I love how their songs have soft mellow verses and a second later they're screaming into the mic with full distortion. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics, like most other garage-ish bands have pretty deep meaning and the way they convey the meanings fits really well. Their singer is great. He can go from a soothing tune to yelling his lungs out and back again. He's got a really distinctive voice too, so when you hear a new Sparta song on the radio you know it's them straight away. // 8

Overall Impression: They definately measure up to other bands, but they also raise the bar in their unique style. The best songs on the album by far ar "Cut Your Ribbon" and "Air." The only criticism I have for the album is that they made a few really good songs, but put a half-hearted effort into the rest. You really notice the difference between the good and bad on this album. If it were stolen, I would put a claim in for insurance but if I didn't have insurance, I'd buy it again. Good album overall. // 8

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