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Red Sparowes - The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer CD (album) cover


Red Sparowes


Post Rock/Math rock

3.81 | 55 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer' - Red Sparowes (6/10)

An album and band that has received quite some acclaim in the more devout post-rock circles, US act Red Sparowes comes to my attention through their association with the legendary post-metal band Isis; now defunct. An album some people have waited four years for, the verbosely titled 'The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer' is undoubtedly an album that will appeal greatly to the style's closer adherents. However, while being an intelligently composed body of work, the sound here is unfortunately about as run-of-the-mill as a post-rock album can get.

Essentially a forty minute flowing piece of music, Red Sparowes embodies many of the traits that defines post-rock; repetition, driving rhythms, atmospheric leads, and tons of soundscaping. All of these are put together quite nicely here, but sparing the use of a steel pedal guitar, the music here feels like an amalgamation of every post-rock act that has come before. While some of the songs have melodies and ideas that distinguish them somewhat from the other tracks included, 'The Fear Is Excruciating...' also suffers from a somewhat 'samey' nature throughout, never breaking out of a single prescribed sound. Although it might be considered unfair to judge an album based on it's context, an arctic explorer would not achieve renown through tracing someone else's steps, and something similar seems to ring true with my feelings towards this album.

This criticism in mind, the band works quite well here, albeit within the constraints of the genre, at times even making some magical moments with their more inspired ideas. Intelligently arranged layers of guitars and minimalistic drum patterns are used here to make a greatly ethereal sound, perfect for a sort of reflective meditation. Perhaps Red Sparowes most (if only) distinctive trait is their use of the steel pedal guitar, which can give some of the tracks a somewhat country vibe to them. While the majority of the album revolves around the rising and falling dynamic of guitar textures, a couple of tracks do a better job of creating a memorable experience than others, most notably the first 'real' song 'In Illusions Of Order', and my personal favourite 'A Mutiny', which has enough memorable riffs written into it to make for a beautiful experience.

Red Sparowes isn't entirely convincing with their their third full-length effort, but the group's keen, albeit derivative compositional skills is duly noted. For some however, this might be a perfect album with which to be introduced to the world of post-rock; 'The Fear Is Excruciating...' features many of the style's most defining qualities.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |


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