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Red Sparowes Question Cult Thinking, Need for Patterns on New LP

On April 6, instrumental post-hardcore supergroup Red Sparowes will issue ‘The Fear Is Excruciating, but Therein Lies the Answer,’ which, you probably could’ve guessed from the name, is a concept record. And boy, is it a deep one.

“The concept for this record basically centers around the human need to find patterns or meaning when there may not be one,” explains bassist Greg Burns, a former member of hardcore legends Jasta 14; Red Sparowes also feature Isis guitarist Bryant Clifford Meyer and Emma Ruth Rundle of the Nocturnes. “One example we use is, there was this mass German bombing during World War II that was completely random. No pattern to it. The U.S. spent all this money to predict where they would bomb next. They thought they’d cracked the code, but there was no pattern.”

The album also addresses the group think mentality of doomsday cults. “One song’s about these groups who’re finding these end of the world days that come and go, and the world’s still there and this idea of always being able to change and alter one’s perception of that meaning,” he explains. “So, if there are all these signs pointing to this day being the end of the world, and if that day comes and goes, instead of a cult saying, ‘We were wrong. We screwed up,’ they’d say, ‘God recognized what we were doing and changed the day.’ People always change things to suit their own meaning. We change our lives to make sense around these perceived truths.”

Heavy. Of course, Red Sparowes will be touring the spring in support of the new LP. This summer, they plan to work on the album’s follow-up. And no, Red Sparowes do not plan on adding a vocalist any time soon, even if it means they’ll lose some fans before they’re even heard.

“I don’t think people typically think of music as instrumental, especially rock,” Burns says. “We all suck as singers. We just … it was never a concept. We just sat down in a room and played music as friends, and we realized no one was singing. We wanted the instruments to fill that role in a way we really liked. We tried having vocals in the very beginning.

“We had people in the band who tried singing, and when we all sat down and listened to it, we all just sort of agreed that it distracted from what we wanted to get out of the music, which was really just a mood and an open-ended way to have people interpret our music. We lose fans for sure in that some people just don’t want to hear instrumental music. On this new record, there are some vocals. They may be hard to make out, but we are playing more and more with vocals … just in a very atmospheric way.”

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