Red Sparowes | The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer

Sargent House (2010)
By MICHAEL PATRICK BRADY  |  March 30, 2010
2.5 2.5 Stars

OTR040210_Sparrowes_main 

Post-rock bands are like silent-film actors — bereft of words, they tend to use broad gestures to ensure that you get the point. Such histrionics have become rote (Explosions in the Sky, Godspeed), but Red Sparowes show that even subtle distinctions can add spark to the formula.

Their third conspicuously titled full-length is by no means a revolution, though it does propose a few minor refinements. Led by Bryant Meyer of Isis, the Sparowes incorporate a metal-inspired background on “A Swarm” and “A Hail of Bombs” while leaving room for more intricate pieces (“In Every Mind”) that could easily be used to score a television show about high-school football.

Greg Burns of Halifax Pier is the saving grace; his pedal-steel guitar slides eerily through “Giving Birth to Imagined Saviors,” the echo-laden notes piercing the drone like the despairing sonar ping of a sinking submarine. “In Illusions of Order” takes a powerful shot at epic status; the melodic surge of the closing minute is expertly designed to sweep listeners off their feet. Red Sparowes can’t shake the post-rock stereotype — but occasionally they do point the way forward.

RED SPAROWES + DOOMRIDERS + FANG ISLAND | Middle East downstairs, 480 Mass Ave, Cambridge | April 15 @ 9 pm | 18+ | $12 | 617.864.EAST or mideastclub.com

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