Sparks The Rescue

Truth Inside The Fiction EP

Written by: TL on 23/08/2013 17:59:36

Sparks The Rescue is a band that has been on pop-punk aficionados' radars for a few years, yet hasn't seemed to be able to get quite the break that was initially predicted for them, possibly due to a rather unstable line-up, with the most recent reshuffling casting singer/guitarists Alex Roy and Toby McAllister as the only remaining long-term members of the Maine-based quartet. Having gotten acquainted with "Worst Thing I've Been Cursed With" and "Sparks The Rescue EP" - the two releases from immediately before the substition that has now brought in new bassist Matt Petriri and drummer Nick Bilotta - I had however heard enough good things from the band to put them on my personal watch list, and hence I've been looking forward to the post-regroup EP "Truth Inside The Fiction" with some trepidation.

And if you ask me, other fans would be wise to approach "Truth Inside The Fiction" with similar caution, because it's clear that STR are exploring a different nuance of their expression here. What impressed me about the band's two former releases was that for a rather polished, All Time Low/Mayday Parade-style pop-punk group, they boasted some kickass guitar-work and proper urgency in the vocal work the sort of which I haven't been used to hearing from similarly sugar-coated bands. What's offered on here however, is comparatively light, mid-tempo and poppy, building largely on semi-acoustic and non-distorted guitar chords and easy-going melodies.

The result is a song like "Suicide King", which is the kind of catchy we've come to expect from the band, yet sounds more like a Jason Mraz number than I was personally ready for coming into the EP. "Coldest Coast" on the other hand, spots a bit of danger with funky guitar/bass interplay alá The Higher, while "Sunburn" is a piano-supported, heart-felt piece of nostalgia that should remind listeners of Something Corporate or The Rocket Summer. And meanwhile, songs like "Shake Me" and "Cold Cash Girls" are the sort of unashamedly youthful emo-pop cuts that should make dudes like me nostalgic for Cute Is What We Aim For while younger kids probably have their thoughts drawn to NeverShoutNever.

On "Truth Inside The Fiction" then, everything is different in the sense that STR has less attitude and less energy than previously, instead becoming more easy-listenable and singalong-friendly with a helping of "whoa-oh" refrains thrown in. And yet everything is the same in the sense that the band seemingly can't pen any sort of record without taking their expression on a trip through countless similar stylistic reference-points, nor without including consistent measures of deceptively catchy choruses. In that sense this EP reminds me of Relient K's recent "Collapsible Lung", prolonging the band's record of good hooks and diverse songwriting, yet lacking a bit of the impact of previous efforts, as a consequence of the down-tuning of any dramatic energy that we're used to from the band's more powerful material. Plainly, I think it would be great to have a few songs like these on another Sparks The Rescue album, but when it's a full record without the contrast of something stronger and more up-beat, I must admit that it doesn't really sink in too deep with me.


Download: Suicide King, Sunburn, Cold Cash
For The Fans Of: Cute Is What We Aim For, Mayday Parade, The Higher, Relient K

Release Date 30.07.2013

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