It's so refreshing to see bands that defy any simple categorization like "emocore" or "post seminal hardcore britpop skacore" or whatever the pretentious scenesters are telling us to listen to nowadays. I saw Sparta open for Pearl Jam on the first leg of the 2003 Riot Act tour, and I thought they were amazing in their honesty and powerful yet somewhat reserved energy onstage. I had heard a few songs long before the show ever came, so I was excited to hear that they were opening. After getting home from the show, I bought this album and have loved it ever since. I was and am a big fan of At the Drive-In, but Sparta is a completely different band in the sense that their music, lyrics, and vocals seem less forced and pretense-driven than ATDI. The music is mostly guitar-driven, but that's not to say that they sound like Thursday or something. These guys just deliver what they deliver without putting any kind of scene tattoo on it, without whining about girlfriends, and without screaming like babies. The music is incredible because it is very layered and textured, which is rare for a lot of modern rock bands right now. It takes the listener on an emotional rollercoaster (I know that's really cliche, but it's all I could think of.) There are times when it rocks really hard and makes the listener soar, especially on "Sans Cosm". Likewise, the ridiculosly beautiful textures on "Collapse", "Air", and especially "Glasshouse Tarot" just put a smile on my face every time. Look, stop comparing these guys to At the Drive-In and Mars Volta, the other "post- at the drive in break up" band. Mars Volta is OK, but Sparta makes them look like losers that missed their chance. Pick this CD up now and see them live soon. If they rocked like they did in the monstrous HiFi Buys Ampitheatre in Atlanta, GA opening for the stellar Pearl Jam, I can only imagine what they're like in a smaller, more personal venue. Nevermind the White Stripes: here's Sparta.