Sparrows

For nearly a decade, Sparrows have thrived on doing things their way.

The Toronto-based group has reached plenty of milestones, despite the struggles and strife that might have brought a less resilient band to an early end. Since 2010, they’ve released two studio albums and two EPs. Their last record, Let The Silence Stay Where It Was, hit #15 on the Hard Music charts and #101 on the Canadian charts in the first week of its 2016 release. The band has toured in support of their heroes Norma Jean and shared the stage with icons Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper. They have toured relentlessly, leading them to memorable gigs at festivals like NXNE, SXSW, CMW, CMJ, Pouzzafest, Scenefest and Stay Warm. In 2015, they were named by Alternative Press magazine as one of the “100 bands you need to know.”

But there have been plenty of low moments, too. Lots of them, really. And eventually, Sparrows realized that at some point in the last couple years, they had lost their way.

“We took everything a lot more seriously than we had in the past,” says vocalist and guitarist Dan Thomson. “It didn’t necessarily hinder our development, but it definitely changed the way that we would have done things, in a more frustrating manner. We’ve always prided ourselves on doing things the way we wanted, regardless of what that meant for us.”

Worn out by the pressures of the music industry, the perils of bad advice and the pitfalls of handshake deals, Sparrows decided to ditch everything and start from scratch.

The new goal? Do whatever they want, however they want to do it.

“The Sparrows way is deciding that something is what you want and then just smashing it with a hammer until it works,” says Thomson. “It’s not the easiest way, but it’s the right way for us.”
That’s how they ended up with Failed Gods, due August 9, 2019, via Sound Anxiety. It’s the third full-length album for the post-hardcore outfit comprising core members Thomson, Justin Sears (guitar) and Jon Busby (drums) along with new addition Jack Panic (bass).

Working with producer Brett Romnes (Crime In Stereo, The Movielife, Free Throw) in New Jersey, the group opened a new chapter after many years with Kenny Bridges of Moneen. But seeking out a new studio experience only broadened their horizons, Thomson says, and the result of those sessions is their fiercest and most powerful record yet.
“Working with Sparrows was a raw, no-rules, intense experience,” says Romnes. “We challenged ourselves to capture what I believe are the heaviest, darkest songs they have written to date. No acting — just pure emotion was poured into every performance.”

Unrestrained and chaotic, Failed Gods is Sparrows’ way of purging themselves of all the anger and frustration that builds up inside them — the personal, the professional and the political. It’s ferocious and pulverizing, but not unrelenting; while songs like “Worship Song” find them at their most deafening, others like “Black Gold” offer the quiet, melodic inverse. Channelling influences like Hopesfall, Cave In and Thrice, Sparrows are constantly taking moments to catch their breath before lashing out again with all their might. This is a band that burns with a fiery rage and keeps that flame roaring by doing only what they know best. After all, fire cleanses.

“Basically everything we do now is telling everybody to fuck off. The way we’re releasing the record, the way we’re going to tour, the way we’re doing everything is kind of like the kid at the back of the bus who just keeps flipping everyone off all the time,” says Thomson.

“We’ll make this work however it is that it’ll work for us, and that’s good enough.”