It's the new one. The songs are longer, and their names are way longer, but other than that it's familiar territory. Red Sparowes haven't shown themselves to be shapeshifters like Do Make Say Think, nor have they given themselves over to atmosphere like Saxon Shore, nor descended into black and inescapable madness like Tarentel. I think I knew what I was getting into when I got the album, and I'm glad to have it. It's different from the first in mostly superficial ways, which as far as I'm concerned is a good thing. It does, however, show a bit of the "sophomore slump" phenomenon - it's necessarily not as fresh, being a second album, but it seems that these songs were the result of work instead of inspiration. There are fewer surprising and exhilarating moments than on At The Soundless Dawn but that is not to say there are none at all. This album, at the risk of sounding pretentious, feels more like the soundtrack to a destroyed world than the soundtrack to a world being destroyed.
I won't bother you with the track names - they're unbelievably long. Like novella long. You can find the names here in their entirety - they're being cropped for bandwidth purposes. "The Great Leap Forward..." is a sweet opener. They get a great start off with the hard-to-soft-to-hard structure that they're so good at. The guitars really soar and when it gets quiet, it doesn't sound forced. "We Stood Transfixed..." is, unfortunately, a stumble. The main melody doesn't sound right with the bass or the accompanying guitars, and they end up sounding like an amateur parody of themselves. It takes off during the chorus section but then dumps you right back into the weak travelling part of the song, and pretty much flops. "Like the Howling Glory..." is a bit long to start, but has a relatively solid growing sound. The next few tracks are pleasant but not noteworthy, though the second half of "A Message of Avarice" is especially good. The final two tracks constitute their own movement, really, and it's pretty filthy. "Millions Starved..." has kind of a false start but then kicks ass after finding its way. The last track isn't quite as strong, nor is it as epic as the final track on At The Soundless Dawn, but it's pretty good nonetheless. It's like a kid with ADHD - too much going on and not enough focus, but plenty of heart so we'll give it a B.
I like the album, and I'm sure it will grow on me as the previous one did, although probably not quite as much. So if you were hoping for a complete reinvention of the post-rock-instrumental wheel from these guys, or even a significant revision of their original sound, you're out of luck, bud. However, if you enjoyed their last album and wish it was twice as long, or liked half of it and want to swap out some tracks with something just like it, you're golden! Hope you like these two tracks, anyway.
Oops. Had dead links here for like 3 months. Sorry to whoever tried to download them. I'll get some files up soon.