This is the first full lenghth CD that Sparta released, and some say it's the better one of the two (compared to the latest CD 'Porcelain'). I would not say it's better, but... different. If one likes one album better, is in the end just a matter of personal taste and preference.
Some general impressions:
So, what's this 'difference' then? Well, 'Wiretap Scars' has an overall different feel and mood compared to 'Porcelain'. Where the latter seems much more melancholic and in parts ambient, quite some songs on 'Wiretap Scars' have a much more rougher feeling and musical build up. But also the slower and more quiet songs differ, as more instruments are used. Like cello-like strings on 'Collapse' for example, or the elctronic like intro to 'Cataract'. On the instrumental side, the bass and drumms set a great base for the rest to build upon. The bass is nothing really special though, but I think the drumming is really great. Vocals are quite rough here and there, and if you know 'At the Drive-In', it will be quite familiar. After all Jim Ward did backing vocals in ATD-I, so if you liked it there, you will like it here. But he does not only scream but also softer or spoken vocals. Though I must say the spoken vocals do not fit on every spot IMO. The guitar is good, and sets quite some good accents with the lead parts.
This is musically speaking great work IMO, and highly underrated by the critics (who bashed this album pretty bad).
What was good:
The quiet/rough aspect of the songs is really great. Songs like "Cataract" have a quite feel on the verse, but kinda explode musically on the Chorus. That is bound to draw attention. I like the use of different instrumentation as well. some light strings or electronic sounds here and there. And in a certain way, this album has a good flow. It does not seem too long or short while listening to it. It seems just right. :thumb:
What was bad:
Well, not much I could say as con. Like I said, I think it is highly underrated by the critics. Still it leaves room to get better. Jim Ward could use his voice better to create a different and better atmosphere (like he does in parts on the follow up album 'Porcelaine'). I could not think of anything more right now
This is a great album by a great band. Definately one of the better Indie/Post-Hardcore bands out there. The production is good, the overall feel of the album as well. If you liked ATD-I, I guess you will have kind of easy access to this one, though it is much more mellow than most stuff by ATD-I.
But don't ask me here what of the Sparta albums to get, they are both good stuff, and only divided by personal preference.
Final rating: 4/5
Cataract, Air, Sans Cosm, Collapse