This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
It doesn’t usually work like this.
After emo-punk phenoms At the Drive-In imploded last year, everyone thought the group’s singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López — who formed a short-lived group called De Facto — would carry on the torch. Only they turned out to be bunch of lame-o electro-jam noodlers whose first album kinda sucked — partly because Cedric put down the mic to play drums and Omar unplugged his guitar to play bass. Turns out everybody was backing the wrong horse. The rest of the group, now reformed under the handle Sparta, have picked up ATDI’s ball and are running with it. Their first album Wiretap Scars bears all the traces of classic ATDI — razor-sharp guitar slashes, aggressively churning punk grooves and emotional lung-shredding vocals — along with a few welcome additions in the form of darker textures, quieter passages, smoother performances and slower tempos. Maybe it isn’t supposed to work, but frenzied anthems like Cut Your Ribbon, Air and Sans Cosm prove it sure as hell does.
NOTE: Obviously, this was written before Cedric and Omar released the first Mars Volta album and reclaimed their throne. So things ended up working out in the end.