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Red Sparowes

Post Rock/Math rock

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Red Sparowes The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer album cover
3.81 | 55 ratings | 5 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Truths Arise (1:49)
2. In Illusions Of Order (7:37)
3. A Hail Of Bombs (4:22)
4. Giving Birth To Imagined Saviors (6:09)
5. A Swarm (7:11)
6. In Every Mind (3:06)
7. A Mutiny (5:32)
8. As Each End Looms And Subsides (7:16)

Total time 43:02

Line-up / Musicians

- Bryant Clifford Meyer / guitar, e-piano, synth, vocals
- Andy Arahood / guitar, e-piano, synth, vocals
- Emma Ruth Rundle / guitar, vocals
- Greg Burns / bass, pedal steel guitar, vocals
- Dave Clifford / drums, percussion, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Greg Burns

CD Sargent House ‎- SH034CD (2010, US)

LP Sargent House ‎- SH035 (2010, US)

Digital album

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RED SPAROWES The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer ratings distribution

(55 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(62%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

RED SPAROWES The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's not been too long since I began to become seriously acquainted with the work of American post-rock outfit Red Sparowes, but I have grown to enjoy and appreciate their material and musical vision quite quickly. "The Fear is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer" is the band's 2010 release, for starters, a very muscular effort that aims at preserving the essential intensity of contemporary art-rock. Isis is naturally a strong reference to their core sound, and so are Mogwai, Neurosis and Tortoise to a certain degree: that is, their approach to texture and atmosphere is clearly differentiated from the orchestrated doom we find in GYBE! albums or the stylish colorfulness delivered in Do Make Say Think releases. Originally an Isis off-shoot, it is evident that Red Sparowes has a creative channel of its own and exploits its potential with conviction and power. While I don't happen to enjoy this third long-duration CD as much as any of the first two, I remain a loyal admirer of the band's sonic deliveries. It feels like the entrance of newcoming guitarist Emma Ruth Rundle has worked as a catalyst of renewed energy within the instrumental developments. 'Truths Arise' is the brief prelude that anticipates in a very controlled way the powerful density that is about to dominate the album's repertoire; despite its shortness, it shows a consistent signal of soaring magnificence. 'In Illusions Of Order' bears a lovely articulation of guitar riffs and harmonies in a mesmerizing crescendo that builds on an initial languidness and ultimately peaks at the 4 minute mark. The next thing is a motif that echoes the initial languidness partially, with a rhythmic scheme that provides a recurrent tension that finally ends up in a terrific climax. Lovely piece!... If Only it had been just a little bit Langer? 'A Hail Of Bombs' bears a more extroverted aura, even lyrical at the starting point. Once we get to the 2 minute mark, things begin to get as explosive as you should expect from the title. This passage of delightful energetic textures ultimately leads to a calm closure. 'Giving Birth To Imagined Saviors' begins on an intriguing, minimalistic note, in this way installing an epic ambience wrapped in a constrained framework. Past the 4 minute mark, things shift from the epic to the dense in a spotless display of fluidity. 'A Swarm' states a sense of evocative lyricism throughout the varying motifs: the sonic framework becomes gradually more powerful, but the implicit brightness does not get to explode as much as in previous pieces, and eventually, things return to the initial calmness before the end. This track can be described as a work of recapitulation of the moods previously captured in 'In Illusions Of Order' and 'A Hail Of Bombs', only with a more pronounced eeriness ? so far, these three tracks may be pointed out as highlights in the album. The lyrical aspect continues to be relevant and crucial in the next piece, 'In Every Mind', while 'A Mutiny' brings a soft series of jazzy moods in both the atmosphere and the rhythmic duo's cadences. At the 3'30 mark, we can spot the possibility of a major increase in rocking power, but it remains a tentative variation within a well-ordained architecture. The closer 'As Each End Looms And Subsides' is yet another highlight. The multiple guitars elaborate an appealing wall-of-sound in which tension and spacey moods become one single sonic force. This combination of robust and cosmic features makes in no small degree the whole RS ideology, and in the case of this particular track, the incarnation turns out to be a revealing epitome. "The Fear Is Excrutiacing But Therein Lies The Answer" is, all in all, an exciting experience - as time goes by and new ideas emerge, Red Sparowes solidifies its position in the post-rock scene.
Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Four long years fans of Red Sparowes waited for what they will bring. Let's see how it ended.

With interesting and original intro (and I heard few dozens of Post Rock albums), they continue in half "good old Post Rock" way, half "something new and original" way, while new elements and methods how to manage to sound interesting are prevalent. When compared to for example GYBE's "Lift Your Skinny Fists etc", this is like Red Sparowes are following completely different structure. Yes, album name is again extremely long (this is Post Rock trademark as I realized), there are no 4 tracks, each divided into intro, graduating, climax, noise, outro. Here, songs follows different path.

Again, PR release is not so much about facts, but about emotions, about feelings. And this is very well performed, composed album that offers many new ideas and proves that this genre has still something to say even in the world of Prog.

4(+), very nice one.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Here is a post-rock album demonstrating an ear for melody, breathtaking, flowing passages, exceptional technical ability, and a shrewd use of repetition.

"Truth's Arise" Undemanding guitar picks out a cinematic, Western sound that could also be compared to Pink Floyd. The piece rises gradually, creating a grand prelude.

"The Illusions of Order" The band layers over a repetitive riff that would please most Porcupine Tree fans. It maintains that stagnant groove, working over it beautifully, before entering a new and more peaceful phase.

"A Hail of Bombs" I love the tones of these guitars, which dance gracefully around one another in a pleasant display. The second half is a heavier contrast, but it maintains a sense of fluidity and refinement.

"Giving Birth to Imagined Saviors" Delicate melodies and harmonies flow from multiple electric guitars so sweetly that it is difficult not to feel at peace at first, and then uplifted as the band takes on the music at full force. Breaking away from their established sound for a bit, the band adopts a slightly different tone during the middle.

"A Swarm" With yet another placid beginning, laced with a steel guitar tone and occasionally gritty rhythm, the listener is treated to more relaxing music before the entire band enters in a cacophonous manner. I must admit I'm not fond of the middle section here, as it's grating and mars an otherwise lovely work.

"In Every Mind" Blending country and grunge sensibilities, this terse piece builds into a heavy, repetitiveness.

"A Mutiny" A fine display of musical craftsmanship, using subtle dynamics, effective guitar effects, the penultimate piece creates a wide variety of emotional textures in under six minutes.

"As Each End Looms and Subsides" This final work is incredibly repetitive, this time to a fault. Even when it becomes something different, it turns into a sputtering, unpleasant mess. The passage afterward quickly morphs into a wailing, almost painful wave of distortion. The final piece is the only major blemish on an otherwise remarkable post-rock endeavor.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Of all the "Post Rock/Math Rock" artists I've heard (and I try to listen to everyone I hear of cuz, for some reason, I really like this new subgenre of progressive music) Red Sparowes keeps me coming back. I not only enjoy their music, but I love the concepts they employ to inspire their songwriting. While not earth-shatteringly innovative, they are still testing the Math Rock structures--and all this while remaining an all-instrumental band. There are no bad songs; all songs make for good attentive listening as well as background music for work, etc. There are several slower, softer songs as well as the usual Post Rock power builders. The Oklahoma twang guitar is at time more prominent but also more enjoyable because it is such an unusual sound in the prog world.

This album is good enough to be recommended as an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

Review by Conor Fynes
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.

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