Today I was planning out to have it be “just another day” which pretty much means, nothing getting done, nothing happening, show binging, catching up on some writing and literally, decompressing from a full week’s non-stop work and familial adulting. That didn’t happen, and it’s likely the weekend will continue into a cataclysmic abyss full of children I have absolutely no control over. While this may sound like a complaint, it isn’t. I look at these engaging demands and think of only one thing: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!
I don’t think there’s any better way than to just begin things with Sparrows, the Toronto-based quartet that may avoid a screaming fuck fest with a post-hardcore tag which should allow the band the comfort of crossing paths with multiple genres for stage performances. But what does this mean for the band itself or more importantly, the music they create? Well, we’ll get to that but I guess we should make note of the multiple Sparrows. There’s a black metal Sparrows (Dallas, TX), an experimental Sparrows (Japan), and an electronic Sparrows (Sydney, Australia), just to name a few. But it’s Toronto’s Sparrows we’re dealing with here and I’m betting on them just on longevity. The group has been together since earlier within the decade and has released a number of EPs and singles, and Failed Gods (Sound Anxiety) looks to be the band’s third full-length.
To say Sparrows are just another fly-by-night act would be a misnomer, and to dismiss the new album would probably be a disservice to the band because there’s no sidestepping away from producing powerful tracks on this album. The band opens with “No Heroes,” a spoken-word piece with layered vocals backed by lightly distorted guitars which leads up to the opening blast of “No Masters.” Levels are raised as the group moves seamlessly through interdimensional time changes, dynamic shifts, and howled screams, all over some underlying melodies that sound addictive.
But Sparrows isn’t just a one-trick pony, and that’s accentuated with “No One Gets Past Four.” Here, the band is much more subdued where lyrics are clear as is the instrumentation, following a melody that borders on majestic. It’s the group’s delivery though that’s captivating. There are hints and moments where the dynamics seem as if they’re about to shift but don’t. Until the last 40 seconds or so where the band builds on the melody and tears it to shreds! “Black Gold” builds with a crescendo that you can anticipate before getting lost in the sonic oblivion Sparrows seems to engulf an entire universe with, while “An Expiry, In Years” is an experimental journey in pop music, without the quartet losing its own identity over it.
I’m uncertain where Sparrows is heading but with Failed Gods, the band is ascending higher than its contemporaries. I’m in the band’s corner and hoping they continue to fly with strong wings because there’s a lot this group has to offer up. GB