This El Paso outfit that was formed by ex-At The Drive In cohorts Jim Ward (vox/guitar) and Tony Hajjar (percussion), seem to have crept surreptitiously into third album territory. There is still an abundance freshness about them, with this being their debut for ANTI RECORDS and also the first album with guitarist Keeley Davis. Who shows how easily he has bedded in by controlling the tempo in the gazing, topsy-turvy mood-builder of ‘Untreatable Disease’. Bemusement is repressed in the winding instrumental propulsion found in ‘Crawl’, but the lyrics and the lingering, heart-wrenching vocals of Ward captures philosophical bewilderment and pangs of regret perfectly;
“The difference between finding what you love
and loving what you’ve found, is killing us right now.”
Screamo territory is almost reached with help from a pulsating percussion fest from Hajar, to race alongside the vocal angst in ‘Taking Back Control’. It serves the dual purpose of being a biting anti-war cry for those who have no voice and, a release of personal indignation towards the powers that be. There is variety and emotional range aplenty, displayed from the fiery ‘Erase It Again’ through to the slow and eerie, keyboard trickled epic of ‘The Most Vicious Crime’. This shows that Spartathrees have taken a great deal of time and thought to reflect their dynamic and changing feelings. Unlike many modern bands, who are in such a hurry to get something out there that the offering invariably ends up one dimensional in this sense.
The thrusting percussion and aching vocals of ‘False Start’ and ’Weather The Storm’ will draw the emo kids into the multi-layered web of musical soul-searching. Atmospheric empiricism is also on show in the later track that seeps in an intriguing noire element, allowing you to sit back and take it all in for a brief moment. The grunge spiked ‘Weather The Storm’ and the searching, Funeral For A Friend touching power-ballad of ‘Without A Sound’, brings Ward’s versatility to the fore. Sparta have produced a thirteen track, topsy-turvy forage into the nether regions of the mind and life, bringing freshness and feeling to the task.