Sparks The Marty Returns A Fearless Wrecking Ball

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A retrofitting interview with hardcore vocalist and disclosure on former band’s new CD.

It seems that 2012 claimed to be the year “pop” and “punk” would revel once again and, for many-a-hayday band, Warped Tour was this promised stomping ground. Although Blink-182 still hasn’t shown up for over a decade, Taking Back Sunday was back with the original line-up. If you made it out for the show, you could have seen sets by The Used and Yellowcard—not to mention the words scrawled on the cartoon banner behind New Found Glory reading: “Pop Punks Not Dead,” a remake of an old, defiant punk rock battle cry.

The year isn’t over yet, and like many of New England’s pop-punk lovers, I was anticipating a new record from Sparks The Rescue. But I was ecstatic when former screamer, Marty Mcmorrow, came into frame during the intro to the new music video, “Disaster,” twirling an imperial moustache.

Now, if you remember at all, Sparks’ 2007 EP “The Secrets We Can’t Keep” had some gut-bursting, heart-wrenching screams in every track. These war cries came from the Poe-etic backing vocalist & keys player, Marty McMorrow. The man can be held partially accountable for STR’s initial success, as he could move crowds of people like a heavy-metal Moses. One of their top venues to perform was The Station on St. John’s St. in Portland, Maine. I cannot forget the synchronized mosh pits during performances like “Nurse, Nurse” and “Getting Clean In The Dirty South.”

Marty disbanded for personal matters in 2008 just before the release of “Eyes To The Sun,” a full-length album that was re-released on Fearless Records in late spring 2009. The vocal dynamics were displaced by full-on melodies, depleting a nearly mastered singer vs. screamer vocal style.

The return of Marty nearly five years later on Sparks The Rescue‘s new EP is like visiting an old childhood friend who grew up to be a mountain. His new screaming vocal, buried deep in the song “Disaster,” is definitively more mature, alluring, and down-right capricious. The lyric, “dropped your name from my vocabulary, at least ’til next year,” is a closed caption that you won’t get enough volume out of (so turn it up at 2:50). For only 10 seconds, the band goes into a glorious relapse that is both reminiscent of their earlier work, and completely reborn. Those who once admired the original sound of STR may find that it is worth picking up the EP just for the poaching of this endangered species of sound.

This would not have become a real article without some sort of redeeming interview with the man himself. So I hunted down my old drinking buddy and asked about his most recent endeavors. He was happy to fire back.

What’s been occupying your free time these days?

Marty: “I spend most of my time brewing beer nowadays for Sebago Brewing Co., which takes up quite a bit of my time.

Great energy in the video. What message you were trying to convey when you were writing your part?

Marty: “Sorry to disappoint, but I didn’t write the part. When I came into the studio, the boys had everything written and ready to go… they just needed my burly vocals (laughs). Alex wrote down what he wanted me to scream and I did thus. With the lyrics given, I tried to at least impart… whatever desperation, anguish and frustration I could with my voice. I’ve had enough heartache in the past that it wasn’t that hard.”

It’s been five years… have you acquired any new influences, POV’s, or drops of knowledge that helped inspire your vocal style?

Marty: “New influences on my vocal style? Frankly, it’s not anything I’ve given much thought since my time with the band. But I would say for a tip… Listen to Shai Hulud.”

Will you be on stage for Sparks’ CD release show on September 15th?

Marty: “I am unsure about if I am going to be in town the weekend of the show, my brother is getting married soon and we are planning a groomsmen camping trip, so my plans concerning the show are up in the air. I would love to be there, and you can be sure that if I can make it… there will be surprises to be had.”

Thank you for toning in, Marty. I miss the dragon’s lair.

STR’s new self-titled E.P. is like a reward for their dedicated fans, and it’s a big win for their old school listeners. It’s hard to say at this time what their plans are for the future, but it looks to be the beginning of a project with a lot more hard work to be done. That means (lucky for us) we’re just going to have to party with them!

Sparks The Rescue All Ages CD Release Party @ Asylum on Saturday, September 15th w/ Beware of Pedestrians, Amy Allen, & Derek Wilkinson

 121 Center St. Portland www.portlandasylum.com

Drop some knowledge.