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Red Sparowes - At the Soundless Dawn CD (album) cover


Red Sparowes


Post Rock/Math rock

3.81 | 99 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's only been less than a couple of months since I first became properly acquainted with Red Sparowes (that is, move beyond the Myspace samplers and the occasional Youtube fan vid) by acquiring their debut album "At The Soundless Dawn", and well, I've been fairly impressed. No wonder that this ensemble is one of the better regarded ones in the realm of post-rock ? their music is muscular yet consistently focused on textures, providing continuous melancholic vibrations without letting go of an inherent energy that is both compelling and cerebral. Red Sparowes was born as an Isis off-shoot, but right from the start it became evident that it was a proper band with its own road before it and enough maturity to elaborate that road in appealing ways. This concept album revolving around the subject of man-made apocalypse delivers a majestic combination of cosmic nuances, robust guitar inputs and dynamic rhythmic stances. The opener sets things clearly with its effective mixture of soaring textures and powerful walls-of-sound where the guitars almost function as painting tools. While not being too frenzy, the rhythmic scheme is tight and electrifying. Just before getting at the 3 minute mark, the dynamics shifts toward a more intense momentum for a while, only until things become fairly minimalistic toward the end, actually, this is a recurring trick throughout the album: almost every track ends with a specific eerie coda that prepares the stage for the following one. Track 2 is a wonderful continuation and reelaboration of the opener's prevalent moods. With a softer interlude settling in momentarily, the musicians manage to create release and mystery as efficient contrasts to the colorful tension that prevails in the main body and its subsequent reprise. Track 3 is apparently more joyous than the preceding two pieces, although the controlled melodies and dense riffs still portray an unmistakable aura of neurotic nostalgia. Track 4 goes for a 11 minute span. It starts with ethereal layers that ultimately turn to amounting tension in a fluid amalgam that lasts 3 minutes. After this, a series of slow arpeggios begins to install the main body, which bears an overbearing contemplative sensibility. The unsettling coda is very reminiscent of early Tangerine Dream, and "Ummagumma"-era Floyd. A special asset for track 5 lies in its candid mood, which works as a source of variation against the recurring tension shown in the preceding tracks. Another asset is the use of pedal steel guitar as a provider of eerie mystic ripples of sound among the sober combination of dual guitar harmonies. This track's coda bears a somewhat cinematic mood, which makes track 6 emphasize its lyrical framework ? in many ways, it is a continuation of the preceding track's sensibility, only increasing the resulting tranquility in order to enhance the sensation that we are witnessing the aural manifestation of a spiritual manifestation. Last but not least, there is the magnificent closer, a powerful track that recapitulates and refurbishes the epic side of the band. The long crescendo that constructs the main body is a clever exercise on building up without losing control and without missing the focus ? the crescendo is craftily sustained in a sonic architecture of subtleties and atmospheres that almost seems to materialize. Once the final riffs are over, a few notes on electric piano state a momentary end followed by some minutes of silence and a cosmic minimalistic epilogue. Now that it's all over, it is time to wrap up this balance by recommending this album to every music collector that is curious to learn about and fully appreciate the new roads of current experimental rock. Purchasing a Red Sparowes album is a win-win situation, so to speak.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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