Sparta is a rock band from El Paso, Texas. The band formed after some of its members’ previous band (At the Drive-in) broke up.
#10. While Oceana Sleeps
Track #3 on “Porcelain,” this song shows off Sparta’s more layered and melodic aspects. It is a great example of the transition the band made between “Wiretap Scars” and “Porcelain.” It is on the slower side, at least for Sparta, but retains all of the intertwining guitar parts and awesome melodies you expect from the band.
#9. Lines in Sand
Track #6 on “Porcelain,” “Lines in Sand” is one of Sparta’s most intricate songs. As the song progresses, more and more parts are introduced, which all end up fitting together perfectly. The song has a feeling of tension as it goes; you can tell it is constantly building to a more powerful melody or a stronger guitar part.
#8. Light Burns Clear
Track #6 on “Wiretap Scars,” this song showcases Sparta’s ability to kick ass in the midst of a really soothing-sounding song. As you begin to get into the calming music of the verse, the chorus comes in as strong as anything on the album, and then the bridge blows you away. Once again, the overlapping guitar parts in this song are phenomenal.
#7. Vacant skies
Track #3 on the EP “Austere,” “Vacant Skies” is almost a relic of the band’s style before their first album. It is structured much more like At the Drive-in used to write their songs. The whole song has one cohesive feel, where it is somewhat difficult to separate chorus from verse. While this song lacks some of the melodic layers that Sparta learned to incorporate into their music, it is still a very impressive piece of work, and quite a joy to listen to.
#6. End Moraine
Track #7 on “Porcelain,” and one of the band’s harder songs, “End Moraine” just has a certain feel to it that you can’t escape. The chorus strays from a 4/4 time signature, which Sparta rarely does, and it makes for a very interesting change of pace in the song. Then there are the ambient guitar parts, as always, which just fit so well into the song.
#5. Glasshouse Tarot
Track #10 on “Wiretap Scars,” “Glasshouse Tarot” contains some of the coolest guitar parts I’ve ever heard, which stick with you long after you listen to the song. Not just that, but Sparta has perfected the art of taking such guitar parts and incorporating them into key parts of the song, putting a big smile on your face.
#4. Cut Your Ribbon
Track #1 on “Wiretap Scars,” and Sparta’s first single, this song is probably one of the band’s most recognizable. “Cut Your Ribbon” is far more raw and in-your-face than most of their music, but it’s for the best. It is an amazing opening to the album, as it is bursting with energy and gets you ready for the rest of the incredible music to come.
Track #14 on “Porcelain,” “Splinters” just sounds really cool. Sporadic and energetic, yet very tight and finely tuned, it wipes away any fears that Sparta has gone soft on this album. This song gives a couple nods to At the Drive-in with a chord here and there that the band was fond of using. The guitar work in this song is very scratchy, adding to the overall feel of the song. The lyrics and title fit the sound of the song perfectly.
Track #2 on “Wiretap Scars,” this song is one of Sparta’s finest examples of how to write numerous little riffs with various instruments, put them together to make them sound like one, write an impeccable melody overtop, and somehow maintain a level of energy that keeps it from sounding like a jumbled mess. Every aspect of this song fits and adds something to the song as a whole. While just the bare foundational chords are enough to make the song a good listen, there doesn’t seem to be one unnecessary layer overlapping them.
#1. Rx Coup
Track #9 on “Wiretap Scars,” “Rx Coup” has a certain essence about it that makes you love it. The drums are gripping yet far from typical, the baseline gets you going immediately, and as always, the guitar work is phenomenal. The chords in the chorus blow you away, and the melody compliments them so well to the point where it’s impossible not to like this song. The only problem I have with “Rx Coup” is that it doesn’t last forever.
Sparta has recently began touring again after a 13-month break. Their new album, “Threes,” will be released in October and the lead vocalist, Jim Ward, has claimed to be more proud of this album than anything he’s ever done before. Be sure to check it out.