Sparrow Falls - Tides (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Sparrow Falls

Tides (2010)

Agent Cooper

For being from the Netherlands, Sparrow Falls have an interestingly Americana tilt to their Tides full-length. It's certainly not a dominant trait, however, and it merely just gives their occasionally wistful but usually rambunctious punk a fresh edge. They cull the vibe of stuff like Nothington, the Gaslight Anthem's Sink or Swim and American Steel circa Destroy Their Future, but imbue it with a scrappier, "whoa-oh" looseness that doesn't quite match the quality of those bands.

The best thing about opener "St. Sylvesterstreet" is the little dynamism employed via these few piano clinks, as it gives the song a subtle grown-up feel I can appreciate. But it's still a pretty good bar-punk song overall, and doesn't feel too long considering it tops out at just under five minutes. "Thorns" has this one moment that goes, "On a bed of thorns I must be sleeping, / feel the pain, / as I am dreamin' again," and in the context of the record it's a great little first half highlight, as familiar as its delivery is. While there are some lulls here (especially with the band averaging more than four minutes a track), the big quiet-loud punch early in "Dogdays & Dusk" should recapture one's attention.

There's some energetic umph to "20 Red", and almost punk-metal riffage (and complementing, chuggy beat with gang vocals) to the tension-mounting "Sail the Storm" that stand out in the second half. The guitar work in "Contemplating the Code" (and scattered places elsewhere) recalls Hot Water Music's Caution for sure, a likely influence.

Otherwise, Tides is a bit long and samey for its own good overall. But this is a cool, and certainly promising listen. If your tastes are on the fringe of this style, maybe check it out; if you normally can't get enough, definitely scope it.

St. Sylvesterstreet
Wayward Ships