Three is the Magic Number
Break- ups are never easy. After the painful split of At The Drive In, the members (and the devotion of fans) split into two bands: The Mars Volta and lesser known Sparta. While Team Voltaâ€šÃ„Ã´s trippy Spanish tinged prog rock has a stronger following, Spartaâ€šÃ„Ã´s third release, the appropriately titled Threes, proves that theyâ€šÃ„Ã´re still in the game.Last yearâ€šÃ„Ã´s loss of guitarist Paul Hinojos to The Mars Volta did not weaken Sparta, as most had speculated, but brought about the powerful addition of former Engine Down member Keeley Davis. Threes features some of drummer Tony Hajjarâ€šÃ„Ã´s best work and continues to veer away from the At The Drive In hardcore style, this time incorporating a slightly indie sound with a touch of Coldplay. The first thirty quiet seconds of opener â€šÃ„ÃºUntreatable Diseaseâ€šÃ„Ã¹ may cause listeners to wonder if theyâ€šÃ„Ã´re playing the correct album, but upon a kick of guitars and drums, Sparta recalls previous album Wiretap Scars.
Single â€šÃ„ÃºTaking Back Controlâ€šÃ„Ã¹ was well chosen and fulfills all the requirements (catchy, guitar-heavy, and politically motivated) of a rock hit, the only problem being that Davis barely has a chance to display his vocal talent alongside singer Jim Ward. While Ward handles lead vocals excellently, his almost straining tenor could use assistance on harder tracks and is better suited for melancholy songs such as â€šÃ„ÃºUnstitch Your Mouthâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºAtlas.â€šÃ„Ã¹
Ward and Hajjar have handled the many set-backs of the past several years spectacularly and in turn have created an album that shows their individual musicianship and separation from At The Drive In. As Ward sings in â€šÃ„ÃºUntreatable Disease,â€šÃ„Ã¹ â€šÃ„ÃºThe memories will pass/ And the future is all you’ll ever have.â€šÃ„Ã¹