Wiretap Scars

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Wiretap Scars
The cover features a rotary phone being wiretapped in the speaker end of the receiver. A camera frame is capturing the act being done. The band's name and the album title are colored red. In between them is the band's logo.
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 13, 2002
RecordedJanuary – March 2002 at Armoury Studios (Vancouver)
House of Blues Studios (Encino)
Cherokee Studios (Hollywood)
GenreAlternative rock, post-hardcore
Length45:38 (International edition)
49:33 (UK edition)
LabelDreamWorks Records
ProducerJerry Finn
Sparta chronology
Wiretap Scars
Singles from Wiretap Scars
  1. "Cut Your Ribbon"
    Released: 2002
  2. "Air"
    Released: 2003

Wiretap Scars is an album by Sparta, released on August 13, 2002 on DreamWorks Records and peaked at number 71 on the Billboard 200. Only months separated this release from their debut EP Austere. The album is greatly influenced by the music of At the Drive-In, with whom most of Sparta's members originally played before their split in 2001.

The vocals and track naming in particular reflect At the Drive-In's Relationship of Command, the last album made by the group. This is in contrast to the music of The Mars Volta, formed by two other members of ATDI (Omar and Cedric), which departs entirely from the post-hardcore genre.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[2]
Drowned in Sound9/10[3]
Punknews.org4.5/5 stars[5]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[6]

Wiretap Scars garnered positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average rating of 69, based on 14 reviews.[1]

Drowned in Sound's Andy Frankowski commended the band for retaining the Drive-In sound while offering a more controlled melodic approach to it, concluding that "[T]hey show a different sign of maturing; it’s a kind of growing older without really aging. They have the same talent they had before but it’s the way they deliver it that will have eyes being opened and ears to the ground."[3] Jason Jackowiak of Splendid commented about the record, "With Wiretap Scars, Sparta have not only made great strides in the progression of their art form; they've also acknowledged the artists who inspired them. That said, the question remains: will Sparta gain recognition on the basis of their own merits, or are they forever to be judged against the accomplishments of their previous employers? Only time will tell."[8] Sputnikmusic emeritus Damrod praised the band's musicality for its use of instruments and electronic beats to craft quiet yet rough tracks that flow well throughout the record, concluding that "This is a great album by a great band. Definitely one of the better Indie/Post-Hardcore bands out there. The production is good, the overall feel of the album as well. If you liked ATD-I, I guess you will have kind of easy access to this one, though it is much more mellow than most stuff by ATD-I."[7] Noel Murray of The A.V. Club said that, "Dialing down At The Drive-In's ferociousness and concentrating more on its exploration of dynamic, textured volume, Sparta has made a smartly produced, superficially exciting record full of deafening electric hum, full-throated shouts, and quiet, intricately picked guitar breaks."[9]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Sparta.

1."Cut Your Ribbon"3:04
5."Sans Cosm"3:59
6."Light Burns Clear"4:24
8."Red Alibi"3:42
9."℞ Coup"3:14
10."Glasshouse Tarot"5:13
11."Echodyne Harmonic"3:57
12."Assemble the Empire"3:02


Credits adapted from the liner notes of Wiretap Scars.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Reviews for Wiretap Scars by Sparta". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  2. ^ Loftus, Johnny. "Wiretap Scars - Sparta". AllMusic. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Frankowski, Andy (August 10, 2002). "Album Review: Sparta - Wiretap Scars". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  4. ^ Carr, Eric (August 22, 2002). "Sparta: Wiretap Scars". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  5. ^ Daren (August 27, 2002). "Sparta - Wiretap Scars". Punknews.org. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  6. ^ Appleford, Steve (August 26, 2002). "Sparta: Wiretap Scars". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on June 2, 2007. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Damrod (June 30, 2005). "Sparta - Wiretap Scars". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  8. ^ Jackowiak, Jason (August 14, 2002). "Sparta: Wiretap Scars". Splendid. Archived from the original on April 16, 2008. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  9. ^ Murray, Noel (August 30, 2002). "Sparta: Wiretap Scars". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  10. ^ Wiretap Scars (booklet). Sparta. DreamWorks. 2002. 0044503662.

External links[edit]