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Red Sparowes - Every Red Heart Shines Toward The Red Sun CD (album) cover


Red Sparowes

Post Rock/Math rock

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Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Finally as that blazing sun shone down upon us did we know that true enemy was the voice of blind idolatry; and only then did we begin to think for ourselves (..and that's just one of the track titles!)

This is the second album by Los Angeles based Red Sparowes. While hardly a supergroup as such, the band members have all been in other similar bands previously, including Isis, Neurosis, Angel Hair and Pleasure Forever.

While the lengthy narrative titles may hint at some sort of literary commitment, the music is pure instrumental post rock of the type expounded by EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY and MOGWAII. There is a certain inevitability about the pounding repetitive guitars and building themes which almost reach their crescendos before falling back for the next attack. The feel generally has a slightly more metal edge that that of their peers, although Greg Burns pedal steel does offer a slight variance from the standard post rock fare.

Seven of the eight tracks are lengthy affairs, cumulating in the 11˝ minute "Like the howling glory..". Here, there is marginally but noticeably more adventure in the lead guitar work, which veers dangerously close to soloing at times.

For those seeking the traditional prog of the 1970's, music such as this will seem remote and unfamiliar. Ironically, it is probably closest to some of the output of bands such as TANGERINE DREAM, except that the multiple synthesisers are replaced here by multiple guitars. Thus the music has an ambience which makes it relaxing rather than stimulating.

When it comes to post rock, which appears to be gaining rapid popularity, Red Sparowes are certainly accomplished in their field. Rightly or wrongly, the style does come across as easy to compose and easy to play offering a means of success to bands of limited ability. This tends to be accentuated by the clumsy drumming style which seems to be a constant characteristic of many post rock albums.

An enjoyable if unremarkable album.

Report this review (#101627)
Posted Tuesday, December 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Red Sparowes' second stuido album dissapointed me a little. Their first release really shock me and get me hardly into Prog Rock scene but this one sounds very repetive for me.

Besides the pompous, metaphysical and almost religious song titles, the truth is the music of Red Sparowes is not for new commers. Just instrumental, complicated, with use and abuse of guitars... As I said first RS album really blows my mind: innovative, raw, full of passion and with a pair of memorable songs. This one continue the same way but I miss the musical risks they'd take before. Songs sounds uniform, repetitive and even simplier. Even when it's an enjoyable album, the taste in your hears at the end of the last track is that something's missing here. Maybe the passion or the pretty experimental stuff of the first album.

Anyway, I still consider RS as one of the great exponents of Post Rock if we put them in the metalier side of the genre. An album highly recommended to metal heads and guitar fans...


Report this review (#116004)
Posted Thursday, March 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars Like their debut record, the titles of the songs make up a short story. The concept of this album is based on the true story of how Mao Tse-Tung with his book "A Great Leap Forward" tried various ways to increase the economy of China. This movement started in 1958 and one of the plans that was implimented (the concept of this record) was the killing of millions of sparrows. They believed this would boost the crops because the sparrows ate too many seeds that were planted by the farmers. What they didn't realize was that the sparrows themselves loved to eat locusts. This allowed the locusts to wipe out the crops unhindered resulting (along with other failed plans) in the starvation of 30-50 million people in just 2 years. As for the music itself, it isn't as good as their debut in my opinion. There aren't the uplifting highs as this one is more balanced and even. This one is also darker and more melancholic.

I'm going to refer to the songs by their numerical order because of how long their titles are. Song One has an energetic intro that calms down a minute in before the tempo speeds up again. Tempo changes continue on perhaps the best song on the album. Song Two opens with delicate guitar and it sounds great ! Beautiful. A fuller sound after 2 minutes but then it settles back down before slowly rising back up. Song Three is a little more aggressive and heavier. Screaming guitar comes in as the song climaxes 7 1/2 minutes in.

Song Four is a mellow and mid paced tune. The song does intensify after 4 minutes and builds. Song Five is kind of boring really until it stops after 5 minutes and slowly comes back better than before. Song Six is a short song with some experimental sounds. Song Seven is more uplifting until it becomes dark and sad. It slowly builds a couple of times before finally becoming a more upbeat tune. Song Eight has lots of atmosphere until 4 1/2 minutes in when it kicks in with some aggressive guitars and drums, this is brief though as it becomes very laid back again before ending heavily.

This is a good record that kind of grew on me, although it still doesn't hold my attention like their debut does.

Report this review (#127673)
Posted Friday, July 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars With songs as epic as the song titles Red Sparowes second album confirms their position as one of the leading lights of the Post-Rock scene. They aren't as dark as Godspeed You Black Emperor but still have the same power to overwhelm the senses and astonish the listener. The concept behind this album which is told through the use of their ridiculously long song titles is a failed attempt by the Chinese government to ensure a bumper harvest, this scheme ended in starvation for millions of people after locusts destroyed the crops. As befitting such a background this album does have a sad tone to it to reflect the events it's trying portray.

As with most Post-Rock the main instruments used are guitars, which provide a large mix of tones and moods during the album, from subtle melodies to heavy riffing the guitar work is always excellent. The rhythm section provides a perfect base for the guitars to play over and the interplay between the rhythm and lead instruments is exceptional. Most of the songs on this album are quite long as is normal with Post-Rock.

However this album is not one I'd recommend to anyone new to Post-Rock as it is a difficult album to appreciate and requires many listens for everything to click in to place, but for anyone who has listened to the more well known bands this album would be an excellent choice.

Report this review (#133518)
Posted Friday, August 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars RED SPAROWES is another in the long list of bands that play post/math rock that could easily be included in the post-metal genre. And this album is a proof of that.

The music in this purely-instrumental disc bears a lot of similarities with post-metal bands like ISIS or PELICAN, while also keeping elements of more relaxed post-rock outfits. This album could be called a metal album were it not for the lack of heavy riffing and the rather soft impression the sounds make in your ears, as opposed to the decibel-attack of metal. But the style is similar: gloomy, grayish, painting a broad landscape instead of caring for minutia; textures are the key, but not virtuosic or adorned guitar work.

I have two problems with this long-titled album (and let's not start with the song titles!): one, the mood changes only a little bit throughout the whole record, and the tempo of the songs is pretty similar all the way through (with a few exceptions); and, two, the musicianship is not as great as it could be. Let me explain this second point: while I understand that this music is better when played directly, raw, crudely, I can't help but think that a better drummer (for example) would make this album a lot of good. Not only is the playing simple and rather un-creative, but the sound is so big, empty, under-produced, that the drummer sounds as if he actually was worse than he really is. Other bands get away with these production values when THE WHOLE album is recorded like that (see NEUROSIS), but here the guitars and bass sound much cleaner and more produced, and the drums are the ones that got the cheap treatment in the mixing studio.

The concept is very good (dealing with Mao's Great Leap Forward which ended up killing millions in the process) and the music has some good points, but it could be better, more varied in mood and tempo and with better playing.

A good instrumental album recommended for fans of post-metal and post-rock with a harder edge.

Report this review (#162800)
Posted Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Great Math Rock and one of the coolest album concepts EVER! Did you know that as part of Chairman Mao's changes he decided to implement from his 1958 book, A Great Leap Forward, he endorsed the extermination of millions of sparrows because they were eating so many of farmers' freshly-planted seeds? The thought behind this was that a higher percentage of germinating seeds would lead to greater agricultural yields and therefore make farming more efficient and feeding his nation's huge population successful. Little did he or his counsellors know that one of sparrows' favorite foods was locusts and that with the loss of the locusts' main natural predator his country's crop losses (from locust infestations) over the next two years would cause the deaths due to starvation of between 30-50 million people!

The song titles used on this album are apparently direct translations from a personal recounting of the devastation caused by many of the campaigns started by Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward.

1. "The Great Leap Forward Poured Down Upon Us One Day Like A Mighty Storm Suddenly And Furiously Blinding Our Senses" (8:10) 2. "We Stood Transfixed In Blank Devotion As Our Leader Spoke To Us, Looking Down On Our Mute Faces With A Great, Raging, And Unseeing Eye" (10:01) 3. "Like The Howling Glory Of The Darkest Winds, This Voice Was Thunderous And The Words Holy, Tangling Their Way Around Our Hearts And Clutching Our Innocent Awe" (11:24) 4. "A Message Of Avarice Rained Down And Carried Us Away To False Dreams Of Endless Riches" (7:56) 5. "Annihilate The Sparrow, That Stealer Of Seed, And Our Harvests Will Abound; We Will Watch Our Wealth Flood In" (8:07) 6. "And By Our Own Hand Did Every Last Bird Lie Silent In Their Puddles, The Air Barren Of Song As The Clouds Drifted Away. For Kill" (1:45) 7. "Millions Starved And Became Skinnier And Skinnier While Our Leaders Became Fatter And Fatter" (10:01) 8. "Finally As That Blazing Sun Shone Down Upon Us Did We Know That True Enemy Was The Voice Of Blind Idolatry; And Only Then Did We Begin To Think For Ourselves" (8:03)

While I must admit that I do not enjoy the music from this album as much as At the Soundless Dawn or The Fear Is Excriciating, But Therein Lies the Answer, I give Red Sparowes mega kudos for one of the cleverest song and album titling concepts ever.

Report this review (#407774)
Posted Friday, February 25, 2011 | Review Permalink

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