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"Sparland CD review"

Originally published by Riverfront Times 2005-08-31
©2005 New Times, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sparland | Building Rome
Invasion | Something Left of Nothing
By Andrew Miller

Warped Tour needs new blood. This year's collection of pitiful whiners, ill-advised side-projects and washed-up '90s also-rans turned what was once an invigorating all-day experience into a masochistic marathon. Thankfully, Building Rome and Sparland, two St. Louis-based groups formed within the past year, boast enough potential to relegate some current big-stage bands to the satellite tents.
With its debut single "Miss U More" -- a prom-ready piano ballad that organically evolves into a propulsive pop-punk tune -- denting local airwaves, Building Rome has already started laying the groundwork for a bright future. In fact, Nothing's fast tracks drive hard in a non-threatening manner -- recalling nerdcore misfits such as Nerf Herder -- while ringing guitar solos, sudden screams and choruses that split the difference between shout-along group vocals and tuneful harmonies are also used effectively. Singer Jonathan Heisserer convincingly de-snottifies his vocals for sensitive segments elsewhere; when he repeatedly apologizes during "Sorry I Wished," he sounds sincere. Only an acoustic fantasy about a "belly-dancer bitch" falls flat: It shoots for Blink-182's cute-stupid charm but achieves only Bloodhound Gang-caliber idiocy.

Sparland's Invasion opens in an unpromising fashion, with a few seconds of squiggly dance-pop. Fortunately, it's a false start. The synths pulse in an urgent, robotic manner, metallic riffs reinforce the same pattern, and suddenly the same song has become not only heavy but also riveting. Even more musically nomadic than Building Rome, Sparland buttresses an essentially emo melodic template with hardcore breakdowns, frequent time-signature switches, atmospheric keyboards and densely knotted dual guitars. The bandmates earn extra live-show points for getting their scorched-throat background screams from their synthesizer player, an incongruous spectacle likely to amuse spectators during their live show.

- Riverfront Times


Invasion e.p. - 2005


Feeling a bit camera shy


Sparland formed in January of 2005, and has already earned a strong reputation in the St. Louis area. They have shared the stage with national acts: Dead Poetic, The Beautiful Mistake, Lorene Drive, Days Like These, As Cities Burn, Classic Case, Amber Pacific, So They Say, Ever We Fall, Spoken, The Appleseed Cast, Houston Calls and Lucky Boys Confusion to name a few. Sparland has developed their sound around a number of influences ranging from hardcore to new wave. They break up the normal with several time changes, and unconventional song structure. The buzz has just begun as they are already receiving local radio play. Big and bright things are in store for this midwestern 5 piece as their self released "Invasion" ep only begins to define them. Catch a live show and see for yourself.