At the Drive-In were one of the best things to ever happen to the rock/emo/indie scene. they were original, inspiring, talented and extremely individual... they created a sound very much their own. i am not all that knowledable about the reasons behind AtDI's break up, but when i heard it was a sad day, hearing such an affluent band had fallen apart.
a while later, a friend told me about Sparta, the Mars Volta and Defacto, three new groups that were going to take on certain members of AtDI and would hopefully be able to facilitate the individual talent of the member(s) they had. i was told that Defacto and the Mars Volta were not incredible, but again how could they be when compared to AtDI?
Sparta brings a little more to the fold than the others, having Jim - a pivotal piece of AtDI, being the guitarist and backing vocalist (whithout his voice we wouldn't have such amazing songs as 'Initiation' and 'Give it a Name' in which the backing vocals play a large role), and the drummer from AtDI. i know it is wrong to expect a band to arise from the destruction of AtDI and inherit all the traits and reasons we loved the former band... but Sparta please on more than just that level, they are more than just a band who sound like At the Drive-In. 'Austere' shows that they are very much their own band, but have taken enough of the old sound with them to win over old AtDI fans... most of whom will notice the haunting similarity betweem the beginning of Sparta's 'cataract' and At the Drive-In's 'invalid litter dept.'
i am seeing Sparta play with Thursday and the Dismemberment Plan in a week, so I will get to see how the band transfers it's music to a live audience...
i recommend this ep very highly, it is well crafted, and it is heartening to hear Jim's guitar playing again, which made me love AtDI's material, especially the song 'winter month novelty' off the El Gran Orgo ep, and now makes me love his new creative drive.