Porcelain [Bonus Track]

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Johnny Loftus
And upon the Great Schism, they were polarized. As Sparta moved determinedly toward marketability, their brothers in the Mars Volta moved decidedly away from it. Not surprising, given the motives that exploded At the Drive-In. But as Wiretap Scars proved, Sparta's discovery of a viable alt metal niche didn't cost them their caustic intellectualism. Quite the opposite -- it focused the flame. In turn, Porcelain shatters the notion that musical thoughtfulness needs to include weeping and flügelhorns, or for that matter jarring time shifts and whispers to a scream. These elements appear in their own way throughout -- Jim Ward, Tony Hajjar, Paul Hinojos, and Matt Miller make ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Johnny Loftus
And upon the Great Schism, they were polarized. As Sparta moved determinedly toward marketability, their brothers in the Mars Volta moved decidedly away from it. Not surprising, given the motives that exploded At the Drive-In. But as Wiretap Scars proved, Sparta's discovery of a viable alt metal niche didn't cost them their caustic intellectualism. Quite the opposite -- it focused the flame. In turn, Porcelain shatters the notion that musical thoughtfulness needs to include weeping and flügelhorns, or for that matter jarring time shifts and whispers to a scream. These elements appear in their own way throughout -- Jim Ward, Tony Hajjar, Paul Hinojos, and Matt Miller make some momentous noise, and Ward's odd timbre bleeds sincerity. But -- amazingly, 'cause they're on Geffen -- their fibrous grooves, dense watercolors, and peels of shattering guitar arrive unencumbered by label-side meddling, or even the unspoken demands of a cliquey music-fan nation. Porcelain is pure consciousness raising, at once its own powerful statement and a directive straight from the Sparta brain trust to seek out Quicksand and Shudder to Think, to find the soul of Braid, and not just nod heads to its followers. This isn't an indictment of the emo or post-hardcore establishments. But there's just no getting around how much stronger Sparta are than so many of their peers. "End Moraine" teeters on a wire between its tense, busy guitar line and muscular rhythm section as Ward wails himself raw about historical revisionism Whose? The country's? The band's own? Unclear. "Guns of Memorial Park" and "Hiss the Villain" fill their multiple angles with roars worthy of Ian MacKaye and intercut strata of angular lead guitar; it's a framework that continues throughout Porcelain, though it never grows tiresome thanks to an ear for pace and meticulous variation. "Lines in the Sand" flattens those arcs and spikes into a gentle slope, and its faraway strings work effectively as valid supporters, not vanity add-ons. "Death in the Family" suggests the martial passion of vintage U2 before fading into the instrumental "Syncope," which is like hearing a guitarist play solo in the stillness of a morgue. The brief piece is also a bridge to the epic "From Now to Never." At nearly nine minutes, it renders each facet of Porcelain in perfect miniature, and emphasizes Sparta's stance as a group working faithfully within the system, but also staunchly and refreshingly outside of it. [The album was also available with the bonus track "Farewell Ruins."]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/7/2004
  • Label: Universal Uk
  • UPC: 602498629062
  • Catalog Number: 9862906

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Guns of Memorial Park (3:49)
  2. 2 Hiss the Villain (3:27)
  3. 3 While Oceana Sleeps (4:24)
  4. 4 La Cerca (3:43)
  5. 5 Breaking the Broken (3:47)
  6. 6 Lines in Sand (6:02)
  7. 7 End Moraine (4:26)
  8. 8 Death in the Family (3:37)
  9. 9 Syncope (1:19)
  10. 10 Tensioning (5:59)
  11. 11 Travel by Bloodline (3:06)
  12. 12 P.O.M.E. (0:47)
  13. 13 From Now to Never (8:39)
  14. 14 Splinters (4:23)
  15. 15 Farewell Ruins (3:16)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Sparta Primary Artist
Charlie Bisharat Violin
Larry Corbett Cello
Joel Derouin Violin
Sara Parkins Violin
Paul Hinojos Group Member
Jim Ward Group Member
Tony Hajjar Group Member
Matt Miller Group Member
Dan Smith Cello
Mario de León Violin
Matthew Funes Viola
Technical Credits
Alan Yoshida Mastering
Sparta Composer
Mike Fasano Drum Technician
Mike Major Producer, Engineer
Justin Leeah Pro-Tools
Bill Scoville Graphic Design
Gabe Kerbrat Guitar Techician, Live Crew
Tony Schloss Pro-Tools
Suzie Takayama Orchestration, String Conductor
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