Red Sparowes
The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein...


3.0
good

Review

by Andrew H. EMERITUS
April 7th, 2010 | 48 replies | 17,327 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: While competent, this album proves Red Sparowes are a band capable of more than they achieve.

Given their personnel, one would be hard pressed to argue that Red Sparowes aren't one of the most capable bands within the sphere of post-rock. Following from their previous two albums, The Fear is Excruciating, But Therein Lies the Solution is their first full-length release since the departure of guitarist Josh Graham (A Storm of Light, Battle of Mice). Given that they have always had a reputation for being highly literate, what is first most notable is that Red Sparowes have ditched their ridiculously long song titles. Previously, each title would form a line or stanza of a poem. The approach here appears to be the same; just with shorter titles. The approach to titling their songs is not particularly innovative but where many similar groups employ seemingly purposeless, pretentious titles of gargantuan length, Red Sparowes use it as a fresh method of adding meaning to their music. This sort of slight and interesting embellishment on post-rock cliché is, in my mind, the defining element of Red Sparowes as a group. They're not revolutionary, but revolutionary isn't always what's needed and Red Sparowes have consistently demonstrated good execution of their chosen genre.

The Fear is Excruciating..., then, is a slightly disappointing release and at first it would appear that they've slipped back ever so slightly into the narrow confinements of their genre. But this is not the case at all because Red Sparowes have always been a band that flirted with post-rock conventions without embracing them fully. This release continues that pattern, it's just that some of the embellishments that previously made their releases interesting are scaled back or at least not foregrounded. In large part, this is perhaps due to Josh Graham's departure. Graham's textural guitar work was a big part of the group's first two albums and without the atmosphere aroused by his playing, the pieces of The Fear is Excruciating... feel flat, despite the good ideas contained within almost every track. The pedal steel guitar has always been a prominent part of the group's sound but without Graham's textures, the interesting sounds have to take a more active role in the music and thus the interactions are much more fluid, soft and far less jarring. The interaction of the instruments creates more unifying feeling, but the more interesting sounds that the group has become known for are swept into the background.

I've always felt that Red Sparowes are a band capable of more than they achieve. As it stands they are one of their more interesting bands in their genre that are simply lacking a certain x-factor to tip them over the edge. I can't say what would do it though, and despite everything I've said, this is an extremely competent release with good musicianship and interesting parts. Fans of the genre will likely find it to be one of the better releases of the year. It seems that Red Sparowes, though, are missing a special part of their sound and it's holding them back from becoming the band they could be and indeed, may well be with a future release.



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user ratings (249)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Adam Knott EMERITUS (4)
A Hail Of Bombs....

Benjamin Bland (4.5)
Err, what happened to the song titles?...


Comments:Add a Comment 
elephantREVOLUTION
April 7th 2010



2731 Comments


i still need to check this out.

ameypv
April 7th 2010



807 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good review

porch
April 7th 2010



8443 Comments


You could've gone into a lot more detail about why the music was lacking, but I agree that this record is a bit underwhelming.

WoodLawn
April 7th 2010



134 Comments


This pretty much sums up my opinion of the band. Good stuff, but given the personnel in the band, I always expect a little something more from them that they just never seem to deliver.

theilladelph
April 7th 2010



265 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

i think you guys are missing the point... their music is not supposed to be "overwhelming"... its just chill laid back music with a nice groove, with only occasional climaxes... i feel that they pull this off very very well

natey
April 7th 2010



4170 Comments


boring

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2010



15727 Comments


gotta close a parentheses in that 1st paragraph

Digging: A Sunny Day In Glasgow - Sea When Absent

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
April 7th 2010



7018 Comments


Agree with this review

Digging: Braid - No Coast

KYZAR
April 7th 2010



513 Comments


THIS is best new music?

NortherlyNanook
April 7th 2010



1285 Comments


man you all blow goats this album's sick

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2010



15727 Comments


surprised it fits the bnm algorithm but math was never my strong subject

LeotardMessiah2
April 7th 2010



311 Comments


this album blows chunks of vomit across the sky

MutnikSpusic
April 7th 2010



560 Comments


lol

theilladelph
April 7th 2010



265 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

have people that are talking shit about this listened to it more than once?

Sk0rpi0n
April 7th 2010



38 Comments


This album just seems so average, despite 3 or 4 listens and searching for good qualities in it. I am... disappointed.

Acre
April 7th 2010



847 Comments


This is more or less how I feel about this band.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
April 8th 2010



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

have people that are talking shit about this listened to it more than once?


I gave it about 7 solid listens. I'm not really talking shit about it because I don't think it's bad, just doesn't really do anything for me like the last two did.

Also, hey everyone. Firefox wasn't letting me post comments and it only just occurred to me to try Chrome, which is working.

Powerban
April 8th 2010



2380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I love how much groove this has. At least I can't confuse these guys with any other post-rock band.

I want a new Maybeshewill album more than any other post-rock at the moment though.

YouAreMySilence
April 8th 2010



3727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album isnt nearly as good as everyone's been saying.

theilladelph
April 8th 2010



265 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

yea that wasnt really directed at you br3ad i was more referring to comments like

"this album blows chunks of vomit across the sky"



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