It's perhaps too easy to label Red Sparowes "post-rock". Sure, The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer (Sargent House, 2010) features loud instrumental band essentials like crescendos. It's not difficult to trace passages to Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, or Explosions in the Sky. But instead of depending on tension and release like their peers, Red Sparowes focus on writing songs. They do so through the power of subtlety. Understated performances rooted in rock tempos create an engaging whole. Experimentation and metallic crunch aren't concerns. The result is a cohesion absent on previous records.

The pop fan in me hears ghost singing over just about every instrumental song. But while Red Sparowes might benefit from a lyric or two, they still meet the challenge for all instrumental bands: command attention without uttering a syllable. Music doesn't need words to say something.

— Casey Boland

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