Let the Silence Stay Where It Was
(New Damage Records)
File this under the “2016 albums I feel like a dick for not listening to sooner”. When a promo includes the words “Canadian”, “punk”, and “hardcore”, I should be all over it, but I’ve admitted my mistake. Sparrows have tracked an interesting career, making post-hardcore that felt indebted to Brand New, Thrice, and Cave In than anything released more recently. They pushed out cathartic music, but they’ve really stepped things up with their first release with New Damage – Let the Silence Stay Where It Was. The result is a record that pushes their Cave In influences to the forefront and emphasizes the “post” part of post-hardcore. This isn’t the type of space rock meant to be experienced with illicit drugs and an old, comfy counch.
Instead, Sparrows show how impressively they can channel the band’s recent turmoils into stunningly emotive tunes. Songs don’t always feature verse-chorus formulas, instead preferring drawn-out crescendos for full effect. A few tunes even utilize false starts to good effect (see: “Our Savior Left Us For Dead”). It’s heavy on the riffs and emotions, as Sparrows endured some poor luck and health in the past couple years, requiring time off to heal and cancelled tours. That frustration was a great inspiration for the band, culminating in their best work to date. You can tell the time off also allowed them to explore their sound further into new territory. It’s easily their heaviest record to date, musically and lyrically, allowing the themes to play off the punishing tunes. Fittingly, the album ends with a stunning post-metal barrage that is over too soon. Maybe that’s just a sign of greatness to come for the band. Despite everything I just wrote, this is a real joy to listen to, and it’s clear that things are trending in the right direction for Sparrows. Fans of what post-hardcore used to be should love this record, as I do.