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RED SPAROWES

Post Rock/Math rock • United States


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Red Sparowes biography
Red Sparowes formed in the earlier part of this decade, as another project for its members. Its sound is characteristic of a metal influenced post-rock, with an otherwise uncommon extensive use of a pedal steel guitar adding a unique flavour. Through signing to Neurot Recordings, Neurosis' record label, Red Sparowes toured with The Dillinger Escape Plan and Made Out of Babies in 2004, after recording demos for their debut album. The debut was recorded in late May 2004 by engineer Desmond Shea. The resulting sound is in the vein of guitarist Bryant Clifford Meyer and Jeff Caxide's band Isis, Chicago post-rock/metal outfit Pelican, and New Zealand post-rock band Jakob. Members Jeff Caxide and Dana Berkowitz relocated in late 2004, thus forcing them out of the band. The album was released in February 2005, following guitarist Bryant Clifford Meyer's other band, Isis's initial tours in support of their album Panopticon. Shortly after the release of At the Soundless Dawn, a split 12" was released with Gregor Samsa. The Red Sparowes side contained the second track from At the Soundless Dawn as well as a song recorded during the album's recording sessions with guitar from Mike Gallagher of Isis, initially only available on the Japanese release of the album. The band did a successful headlining tour of Europe in spring 2005, and participated in an American tour in August/September 2005 with Pelican, Big Business and Breather Resist. As of February 2006, the band has finished recording their follow up to At the Soundless Dawn, Every Red Heart Shines Toward The Red Sun, which will be released on CD by Neurot Recordings, and LP by Robotic Empire in September/October/November 2006 [1].

- Digdug

See also:
- Isis
- Neurosis



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Approved by the post-rock experts team.



Discography:
Red Sparowes, demo (2004)
At the Soundless Dawn, studio album (2005)
Split 12" with Gregor Samsa (2005)

Red Sparowes official website

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At the Soundless DawnAt the Soundless Dawn
Neurot Recordings 2005
Audio CD$9.27
$4.99 (used)
Fear Is Excruciating But Therein Lies the AnswerFear Is Excruciating But Therein Lies the Answer
Sargent House 2010
Audio CD$11.93
$5.54 (used)
Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red SunEvery Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun
Neurot Recordings 2006
Audio CD$14.10
$1.35 (used)
Red Sparowes/Gregor Samsa [Split CD]Red Sparowes/Gregor Samsa [Split CD]
Robotic Empire 2006
Audio CD$5.97
$4.04 (used)
EVERY RED HEART SHINES TOWARD THE RED SUN +1EVERY RED HEART SHINES TOWARD THE RED SUN +1
DIW Records (JAPAN)
Audio CD$21.63 (used)
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RED SPAROWES discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

RED SPAROWES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.80 | 85 ratings
At The Soundless Dawn
2005
3.30 | 29 ratings
Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun
2006
3.66 | 51 ratings
The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer
2010

RED SPAROWES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 4 ratings
Oh Lord, God Of Vengeance, Show Yourself!
2006

RED SPAROWES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

RED SPAROWES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

RED SPAROWES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.04 | 5 ratings
Red Sparowes/Gregor Samsa (Split)
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Triad
2006
3.47 | 7 ratings
Aphorisms
2008

RED SPAROWES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 At The Soundless Dawn by RED SPAROWES album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.80 | 85 ratings

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At The Soundless Dawn
Red Sparowes Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Red Sparowes crank the Godspeed You Black Emperor/A Silver Mt. Zion style of post-rock up to 11, and aren't afraid to include sustained abrasive wails and shrieks in their music if that's what they think the composition calls for. On the whole, I don't think At the Soundless Dawn quite measures up to works by their post-rock peers; whilst Godspeet and Mt. Zion have also never been afraid to throw in the occasional dissonant or abrasive element into their music, they also show a keen judgement of exactly how long to sustain it for to achieve the right artistic effect without it becoming aggravating; Red Sparowes, to my ears at least, seem to lack that, often creating compositions which are just uncomfortable and uninteresting to listen to.

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 Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun by RED SPAROWES album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.30 | 29 ratings

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Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun
Red Sparowes Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BrufordFreak

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.

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 The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer by RED SPAROWES album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.66 | 51 ratings

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The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer
Red Sparowes Post Rock/Math rock

Review by 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.

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 The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer by RED SPAROWES album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.66 | 51 ratings

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The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer
Red Sparowes Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BrufordFreak

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.

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 The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer by RED SPAROWES album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.66 | 51 ratings

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The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer
Red Sparowes Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

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.

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 The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer by RED SPAROWES album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.66 | 51 ratings

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The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer
Red Sparowes Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

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.

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 The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer by RED SPAROWES album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.66 | 51 ratings

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The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer
Red Sparowes Post Rock/Math rock

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.

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 At The Soundless Dawn by RED SPAROWES album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.80 | 85 ratings

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At The Soundless Dawn
Red Sparowes Post Rock/Math rock

Review by 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.

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 At The Soundless Dawn by RED SPAROWES album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.80 | 85 ratings

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At The Soundless Dawn
Red Sparowes Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TRIFIVE5000

4 stars Red Sparowes is very recommended. It is very clear from the sound of this record that the music comes naturally from the band, and each song flows seamlessly from beginning to end. In fact, the album flows pretty much the same way. I woudn't call it a masterpiece of progressive rock,(It doesn't have to be a masterpiece to be excellent ya know) but it's one of the best albums I've heard in recent years and it's one of the most original and best sounding post-rock and prog rock albums in recent years also. Highly recommended. 4.1 stars, and I recommend the track 4. Mechanical Sounds Cascaded Though the City Walls and Everyone Reveled in Their Ignorance.

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 Aphorisms by RED SPAROWES album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2008
3.47 | 7 ratings

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Aphorisms
Red Sparowes Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Dim
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I never really got into this band, I only have at the soundless dawn, and only listened to it three or four times, simply because it bored me. The sound of the post rock/metal super group Red Sparrows sounds like the ambient sections of Isis, with some steal guitar thrown in, along with some Mogwai-ish metal sections, and in the midst of all this I have trouble finding anything to cling onto to take me away so I can get lost in the music like how I usually listen to the music of this genre.

This EP does provide some hope though, the first song, which I wont even try to write out considering how long and pretentious the title is, is an excellent heavy post rock song, full of a more tangible feeling that I can grip without losing focus, and not a lot of meandering to keep me locked in. It just has the energy that their debut just doesn't seem to have. The next song also has this kind of energy, but will through section to section, never really climaxing, maybe until the very end when the distorted delay starts playing a very dark lead, while the drums pound away, otherwise, it seems like this group is just going through the motions. One thing I should probably mention about this group is their wonderful use of the lap Steele guitar, an instrument widely unknown to this kind of music (maybe except Cult of Luna's guitar player using a slide). Anyways, they take full advantage of the instrument in the last song of this short EP, and with adding some western like tones to the other guitars, the song really does have a hugely prominent western feel, which I think is excellent.

Maybe this band is actually gonna start getting somewhere, this little EP does show some bite, some kind of agression behind their walls of delayed guitars, and if this collection of songs is to be on their new album, I wont deny my excitement for it.

3 stars

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