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Wiretap Scars

114 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 13, 2002
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$14.21 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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When hirsute El Paso, Texas, emo gods At the Drive-In abruptly called it quits and split into two factions--unofficially, the afros and non-afros--dismayed fans feared that it spelled the end for their pummeling, tight-wire guitar rock. Not so. While hairy frontman Cedric Bixler and guitarist Omar Rodriguez did, indeed, venture into weirdo space jazz under the name the Mars Volta, guitarist Jim Ward, bassist Paul Hinojos, and drummer Tony Hajjar stay on course as Sparta. Wiretap Scars echoes the reckless beauty of the trio's former band. The album features raw punk fury on "Cut Your Ribbon," emotional dissonance in "Cataract," and an absurdly exuberant melody ("Glasshouse Tarot") or two ("Mye") scattered about. And it rocks like a bastard. --Aidin Vaziri


Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 13, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Dreamworks
  • ASIN: B000069KO6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,600 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 17, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Ok, I just got this CD, and it's just simply amazing! Honestly, I wasn't too familiar w/ ATDI, and what I did hear I didn't get into. But I saw Sparta open for Weezer and I was captured by the sound. The lead's voice is loud and raw. But it's also high-pitched, which is a nice change from some of the lower, gruffy-sounding leads of some bands [] you hear on the radio. When he screams the lyrics, he doesn't sound as angry as he may be trying to come across. Instead, it's almost soothing and has a good amount of harmony with it. I've listened to the CD just a few times now, and the lyrics don't seem the kind one can easily relate to. However, they're deliberately intelligent (and not random, as they first sound). Guitars and drums are heavy, and just make this band and this CD a winner. Song #4 ("Collapse") will just tug at your heart strings! I don't care if 0 out of 100 people find this review helpful, this CD's kickin' and just buy the damn thing! DO IT!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Alec Rojas VINE VOICE on August 26, 2002
Format: Audio CD
#1: Everyone should stop trying to link Sparta to At the Drive-In, musically and lyrically. These are two different bands here, and comparing the work of one to the other doesn't do them justice.
#2: The Mars Volta should never be compared to Sparta. There is nothing that links these two bands besides the obvious starting spot of ATDI.
Those being said, one has to approach the CD without comparing it to either of those two bands and simply see it as a debut of a new band from El Paso. From that aspect, this CD is absolutely phenomenal. Filled with catchy hooks, grinding guitars and aggressive drumming, Sparta's first full length, Wiretap Scars, is an immensely powerful debut from a band that prides songwriting over flash and gimmicks.
Instead of trying to be deliberately artistic and overly theatrical, Sparta doesn't do either and lets the songs themselves be the carrying force for the band's power. Songs like "Collapse" are melody-laden and beautifully arranged, perfectly exploiting the dual guitars and stark, naked beauty if Jim Ward's voice. While the more aggressive tracks ("Cut your Ribbon," "Sans Cosm," and "Air") are absolutely splendid rockers, the real parts of the CD that shine are the melodic, slower ones. Songs like "Glasshouse Tarot" (named after the Glasshouse in Pomona California) and "Echodyne Harmonic" (now fully mixed after being "de-mixed" on the Austere EP), which slow down the pace, have beautiful driving beats and soft, enchanting melodies that captivate the listener like nothing else. The increadibly tight playing of the band as a unit is what keeps the music going, as Tony's superb drumming keeps the entire album on check.
Pick this one up for a fresh sound. It's not quite emo, not quite hard rock, but it's certainly one of the best albums of the year.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "faggis69" on January 8, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Come two of my favorite albums from 2002, the Mars Volta's Tremulant EP and Sparta's Wiretap Scars. This review will be short, but will point out a few things.
In terms of raw power, between the former ATDI bands, Sparta rocks harder, the Mars Volta is more pretentious yet completely different. It's easy to see where the influences from the juggernaut of At the Drive In came from. Undoubtedly, former fans and former detractors alike will all have an opinion on who is better. I have mine, but this is a review.
In terms of accessibility, there's no question Sparta is easier on the eardrums. The Mars Volta's pretentious fuzzy dub sound and outlandish recording techniques are very different from this album. Again, this isn't a positive or a negative, it just is.
Sparta weighs in, in their most brilliant moments, with tracks like "Mye" and "Cataract." Both are absolutely addicting. Their sound is actually quite eclectic. Their self described term, I believe, is "Tejano Emo", and I'm hard pressed to argue that point.
At the Drive In were revolutionary. I nearly cried the day they broke up, but I realize that there were two different visionary forces pulling this band in different directions. As it stands, both the Mars Volta and Sparta are set to change your perceptions. Buy both today. You can't possibly be disappointed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ken Masloski on August 27, 2002
Format: Audio CD
...I was upset when At The Drive-In broke up and I am loving both The Mars Volta AND Sparta, but 31+ dollars for an extra song that you get on the Austere EP is a bit much. Just buy the regular Wiretap Scars and the Austere EP.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By B. Yankee on January 6, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I bought this CD after hearing it played in a music store. I guess I'm the only reviewer here that never heard of these guys or of their previous band before I bought the CD, so my perspective is a bit different from the rest.
Musically, this band seems to be a mixture of grunge rock/metal screams and crunch guitar with the (pseudo)intelligence and melodic sense of art rock. They're obviously smart and it shows in the lyrics (if only you could acutally understand what they are - more on that later).
Unfortunatley, the musical textures and melodies seem to be immature and somewhat cliched. When I lisiten to the CD, I like what I hear, but someplace in the back of my head a little voice keeps saying "where have I heard this before?" It's too familiar to be original, yet it is very appealing and a good listen. I am surprised to learn that these guys have been around (albeit in a different band) for some time as this effort sounds very much like a good solid first recording from a young band with a lot of potential.
A technical quibble - while the guitars and drums are recorded very well, the bass is, well, it's there someplace but it leaves no impression. The biggest problem by far, however, is that the vocals are so far down in the muddy middle of the mix that they are pretty much unitelligible. This is not helped by the fact that the singer has a thin and plain singing voice (which reminds me very much of the guy that sang in the band Yes a million years ago)that lacks any stand out or distinctive qualities. He is, however, capable of a hearty scream/yell that is used to great effect - or would be if the vocal mix had been done better. Tip to the band: change producers on your next album. Tip to the drummer: Don't rush! Subdivide!
Bottom line: Some good tunes, appealing texures and melodies, interesting lyrics, nicely set off by agressive crunch and grungy power. Sparta shows potentential, but they're not there yet.
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