Trust The River


Dine Alone Records, 2020

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


Here’s a relic of my past. Formed from the initial ashes of the band at the drive-in, Sparta last released a record in 2006 when I was a junior in college. Now reformed with a reconfigured lineup, Jim Ward and company have returned and their sound hasn’t changed all that much. Maybe nowadays they’re a little less emo and a bit more introspective than say “Taking Back Control” or “Mye.”my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Opening track “Class Blue” showcases the new side of the band and is an interesting way to reintroduce the world to Sparta. Decent enough song but more on the indie side of the rock spectrum than we’re used to. This new take on their sound really comes around on “Turquoise Dream,” which is a really pretty song and might rank as one of my top five favorite Sparta tracks.

“Cat Scream” is a quick two-minute blast that wakes the listener up and gives them a remembrance of what they used to always love about this band. “Spirit Dream” is a woozy take reminiscent of Mazzy Star with Nicole Fargo on vocals and reacting well with Ward. Producer David Garza who also has recently worked with Fiona Apple doesn’t push the music too far in the mix and it works well for this band.

“Graveyard Luck” had previously been released as a standalone single a few years back and is just okay here. It’s barely long enough to make up your mind about. “Empty Houses” is a bit longer and gives one a chance to catch their breath and revel in the slower sounds being presented throughout the disc. It’s not the rough and ready Sparta that was present on those first two records but it’s a decent enough reinvention to make one remember why they liked the band in the first place and it’s a good record to use as a backdrop to all the insanity currently going on in the world.


Rating: B-

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