Principally recorded at ARmoury Studios, Vancouver, British Columbia between Hanuray & March 2002.
Named after the infamous military city-state of ancient Greek civilization, Sparta finds three members of defunct critical faves At The Drive-In re-emerging from the ashes of that late, lamented group. Sparta debuted in early 2002 with the EP AUSTERE, but WIRETAP SCARS is the group's first full-length recording. Luckily, this quartet stays the ATDI course as they keep the quotient of jagged riffs and angst-tinged vocals at a maximum, be it on the choppy opener "Cut Your Ribbon," the thundering "Sans Cosm" or the equally powerful "RX Coup."
With new frontman Jim Ward sounding like a more hardened Perry Farrell, Sparta often finds itself in a more ethereal and melodic frame of reference, jumping from the swirling whirlpool of chords at the heart of "Cataract" to the understated might of the autobiographical "Glasshouse Tarot." Other highlights include the fragile beauty of "Echoldyne Harmonic" with its delicate interplay of piano and meandering guitar, and the simmering "Collapse," whose effectiveness lies in an interesting use of time changes. Despite having the specter of At The Drive-In hanging over them, Sparta got off to a fine start with a full-length debut sure to please plenty of ATDI fans.
Rolling Stone (9/19/02, p.104) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...A wide range of slippery post-punk sounds..."
Q (10/02, p.117) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Sparta trade on a lot of the same ideas [as ATDI]...and there's still plenty of angst on show.."
NME (Magazine) (8/17/02, p.33) - 8 out of 10 - "...Shares many traits with ATD-I - the ragged, fluid guitars, that emo-drenched tension - but Sparta have upped the ante with post-hardcore fury..."