Red Sparowes
Sat Aug 13
Sabala's Mt. Tabor
4811 SE Hawthorne

With members of Isis, Neurosis, Angel Hair, and Pleasure Forever, it's more than fair to assume Red Sparowes will deliver an earth-crushing onslaught of post-metal heaviness. Debut disc At the Soundless Dawn calmly sweeps that notion aside, revealing itself as a streamlined instrumental refuge from the screaming and chugging that made these guys infamous in their other incarnations.

 Comparisons will arise to other post-rock instrumentalists from Explosions in the Sky to Mogwai, the more overtly metallic SubArachnoid Space, and the swirling psychedelia of Paik. Actually, Red Sparowes temper their arpeggios to such a degree that none of the bombast, dynamics, or any sort of edge at all shows through. This is a very tranquil rock record that glides through the night, hinting at the fire and coal that fuels the cities and their machines, while never leaving the cover of darkness. At their most urgent, this is the triumphant melodrama of an emo song in which the singer never appears; the ambient interludes seem no less rocking.

  For better or worse, the Red Sparowes album is a relaxing affair that makes for great background listening. Put this on before bed, and its seven lengthy tracks will smoothly drift from last waking thoughts to pleasant spooky dreams. It won't jar you awake until your changer switches to the next disc.

 It seems a given that live, with a revamped line-up and a successful European tour under their belts, Red Sparowes will deliver the goods in a less inoffensive fashion than on their album. Indeed, with Big Business and Pelican on the bill, Sparowes will likely be forced to push their own envelope, and tap into the talent for rock dynamics that they've already proven as individuals.