Sparks the Rescue - The Secrets We Can't Keep (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Sparks the Rescue

The Secrets We Can't Keep (2007)

Double Blind

I have a simple request that I'd like to make for new bands: Please be careful with the song you pick as the first track on your EP or album. To exemplify my point, we have Sparks the Rescue. After getting past the slightly overdramatic artwork that my promo copy for this digital-only EP was wrapped in, I was pleasantly surprised by what sounded like a half-decent pop-punk band that drew heavily from the nü-emo sector. It sounded like the band had taken a few lessons from Cartel and the Starting Line and combined it with a splash of Saosin and Boys Night Out, and while not terribly original, the opener "Saco Boys Have No Class" was better than I expected.

But then track two opened up with a scream. Not a balls-out scream that you hear in good hardcore, but one of those screams that sound like the guy might have vomited at the time of recording it in order to capture that sound. And even though the song started with what sounded like a gritty rock'n'roll riff, "Getting Clean in the Dirty South" quickly turned into what I later discovered the rest of the EP was: standard nü-screamo. Take your pick: Scary Kids Scaring Kids, My American Heart, Chiodos...the group falls into that brand of music that has a sound as familiar as the haircuts sported by the kids who listen to it.

Now, the EP does have some redeeming features. Vocally (aside from the aforementioned screaming), the band is quite adept. Five of the six members of the group contribute vocals on The Secrets We Can't Keep, and though there are some nice harmonies to be found, the band still doesn't seem to use this to their advantage outside of a few choice moments. Instrumentally, the band also manages to be as tight as the pants they wear, with some solid drumming and good guitar riffs throughout. When you can hear the synth (which is rare), it does add some memorable little moments, but these synth bits are few and far between.

Luckily, this band has years to develop. With an average age of 19, the boys need to mature and bring in some new influences so that their music can find a way to distinguish itself in an oversaturated genre. If they take their time to use their talents to craft the catchy tunes that the album's opener promised, they could have a hit on their hands, but until then, all they have to show for their efforts is an EP of wasted potential.