Archive for the ‘Red Sparowes’ Category
I guess I plan to highlight all the week’s posts and some news around the blogosphere to add something different.
With a ton of new writers on board. I won’t get into any details as of yet but it’s more then a handful who will cover even more genres and music.
Reviews on Allan’s World of Music:
Forever In A Day – It’s So Well Rehearsed
The New Frontiers – Mending Review
The Hold Steady – Stay Positive Review
Shad – The Old Prince Review
Red Sparowes – Aphorisms EP Review
Sun Kil Moon – April Review
Around the blogosphere:
Kings of Leon have been a hot topic with their mp3 release of Sex On Fire. (haven’t listened personally)
The Faint has been a hot band on the blogosphere. Despite a below average score on P4k. I tried listening to their myspace, didn’t like it and moved on.
Bat For Lashes covered The Cure’s A Forest.
I was also shocked at 3:50AM when I heard a thud. Then the sky turned orange and off in the distance was a big ass explosion that looked like a bomb. Photo Junkie had pictures of it.
It’s been about two years since Red Sparowes released any new material…and now, they present to us their three-track EP, Aphorisms, released in late July of this year.
A couple of changes accompanied this release: one; this EP was actually released through Sargent House and not the band’s regular label Neurot Recordings, and two; one of the members left the band. Josh Graham, lead guitar and one of the founding members, left the band to pursue another musical project. Graham was known for adding that metal “umph” to the band’s music, and to be honest, there may be some truth to that. However, that’s not to say that what separated Red Sparowes from other post-rock bands is now nonexistent…in fact, they are really much the same. I see Aphorisms as a mixture between the two full-length Red Sparowes albums (At the Soundless Dawn (2005) and Every Red Heart Shines Towards the Red Sun (2006)). On one hand, it is dark like the latter album, and on the other hand, variably light in nature.
The EP starts off with “We Left the Apes to Rot, But Find the Fang Grows Within,” much akin to what we know of Red Sparowes—the dense soundscapes, hauntingly beautiful…then the pace changes into a more Soundless Dawn composition: a lighter/less dark tone.
The rest of the EP sort of follows the same way after that. It’s a lot less dark than Every Red Heart, and a little more comparable with mainstream post-rock. However, the band manages to still have that quality that separates itself from the mainstream, and that does have to do with incorporating metal into their genre. The last two tracks, “Error Has Turned Animals Into Men, And to Each the Fold Repeats” and “The Fear is Excruciating, But Therein Lies the Answer” both have the sudden rhythmic shifts about halfway through, and so this becomes something of an expectation. Maybe because it‘s only a three-track EP that makes it tolerable. I actually enjoyed the rhythmic shift of “Error Has Turned Animals Into Men…” as it did have a darker, denser feature to it. The last track, although good, didn’t hit home with me as much as the first two did.
The only thing I didn’t hear on this EP was the band’s normally regular use of the pedal steel guitar. That could be a smart move. Its frequent use might have been of a more haphazard nature, just for the sake of including it into the instrumentation. You’ll be able to hear some pedal steels in the last track, but it’s more filler than focus. The music is still good, and still consistent with the band’s genres.
Overall, this was a pretty good EP. Here’s looking forward to more releases this year.
You know, there’s something about post-rock bands that make me appreciate them a lot more: their nifty song titles. Red Sparowes are notorious for seriously extensive song titles like, “Mechanical Sounds Cascaded Through the City Walls and Everyone Reveled in Their Ignorance” (At the Soundless Dawn, 2005). It’s not just for show, though; the titles actually combine to form an interesting motif of mass extinction events caused by human destruction. In fact, mass extinction of animals seems to be the feature of Red Sparowes’ literary focus; Soundless Dawn conveys the sixth mass extinction event, and Every Red Heart Shines Towards the Red Sun (2006) conveys the Great Sparrow campaign. I must commend this creative facet of theirs; it builds social awareness, something not so commonly found in music today.
Red Sparowes are considered the more “metal” type of post-rock. When I went to see them at El Mocambo, one of the band members told us they have a lot of metal influences. You can definitely hear it in some tunes (“Our Happiest Days Slowly Began to Turn Into Dust”). Their tunes evoke an ethereal-like feeling, and I think it’s deliberate. If you’ve ever seen them live, you’ll know that they like to have visuals while they play—you’ll see random footage of birds flying, moving clouds, swaying grass in a deserted landscape, etc. This imagery in support with the music definitely gave me an airy feeling.
In terms of instrumentation, their use of the pedal steel guitar is what got me into them the most. It just sounds wicked and is probably one of the most neglected instruments out there in the genre. Pedal steels might sound synonymous with country music, but in the post-rock context, it serves as a powerful instrument of rock. “A Message of Avarice Rained Down and Carried Us Away Into False Dreams Of Endless Riches” (Every Red Heart Shines Towards the Red Sun) and “A Brief Moment of Clarity Broke Through the Deafening Hum, But It Was Too Late” (At the Soundless Dawn) are excellent examples of how Red Sparowes uses the pedal steel guitar to its awesome potential.
All in all, Red Sparowes are very delectable, fusing the genre to create an apocalyptic sense to their sound. Very original in my opinion, and very worth checking out.