April 10th, 2020

Sparta – Trust The River (Jim Ward)

For their 4th release, the first in 14 years, Sparta has decided to make themselves almost unrecognizable, moving even farther from the volume and intricacy of their origin in At The Drive-In. Maybe it’s time we stop expecting Ward and company to sound like replicants of themselves from a quarter-century ago. Thoughts?

Trust The River is a new chapter, a dynamic renaissance for a pioneer of modern emo-punk and post-hardcore. Strip away the technicality, scale back the power, remove nearly all preconceived notions of yourself, and what’s left? A pretty straightforward garage-style trock album that highlights songwriting, as opposed to songcraft. 

While I don’t believe they will ever top 2002’s Wiretap Scars, this effort solidly tops their other 2 records, in this listener’s not-so-humble opinion, brushing them aside like so much unwanted detritus. Unfortunately for Sparta, I don’t think it’s strong or important enough to revive the genre and make them relevant again.  

FFO: Engine Down, Hot Water Music

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