‘Sparks’: No one-trick pony

Cincinnati-based Nice Guy Records is testing the local waters again by releasing Dayton natives When Sparks Fly’s “We Who Are About To Die” EP.

This is the band’s first Nice Guy Records release. It manages to assemble seven-tracks of melodic guitars flying over tempo-changing beats, showcasing two singers.

The versatile barrage of music that smashes your ears throughout the EP is nothing groundbreaking. Nevertheless, When Sparks Fly manage to create their own niche in the overcrowded world of pop-punk music.

From the opening notes of “Finding the Weapons of Self Destruction,” it is apparent that the band’s rhythm section is the driving force. Gruff guitars, accompanied by the melodic tone of singer Justin Roseberry, lead the band in an all out sonic assault. Constant tempo changes and a guitar solo from Rosenberry solidify the track as it comes to an end.

“Now the Healing Starts” continues in the same fashion as the previous track. The urgent barking of guitarist and vocalist Lokie Lewis provides a stark contrast to Rosenberry’s symphonic offerings. Blended together the vocals create a formidable balance, which allows the band to avoid annoying, whiny vocals that often overtake bands of the same pop-punk genre.

The next three songs blaze by in energetic fashion giving the listener a sense of the band’s namesake. These are hard-hitting anthems with a message almost guaranteed to produce a reaction from fans.

Whether it be singing or thrashing along to the music, one can almost imagine sparks of energy emanating from the band and into the crowd, both feeding off the vigorous tunes.

An acoustic ballad, “… And All I got was this Lousy T-shirt,” closes out the EP in melancholic fashion. Although short, the song features guitarist Justin Roseberry on vocals crooning softly about past friendships gone astray. The change of pace showcased here allows the listener to see the diversity When Sparks Fly possesses; This band is definitely not a one trick pony.

From hard-hitting punk rock anthems to crooning ballads, When Sparks Fly manage to deliver a satisfying listen.

Signing with Nice Guy Records has allowed the band to expand their horizons by getting “We Who Are About To Die” distributed nationwide. The record can be found at Best Buy stores across the United States, and on amazon.com.

In a business where exposure is everything, the distribution deal does not guarantee immediate success, and by no means does the band plan on resting after achieving the nationwide distribution deal.

When Sparks Fly are hitting the road to spread their gospel to those willing to listen and chances are you can catch them in Cincinnati shortly.

Current dates have not yet been released; however, by checking you can keep up to date on touring plans.

Adam Rosing is the head writer for www.cincypunk.net. The site is returning to the local music scene on February 7, 2004 after being down since November 30, 2003.

To check out more of his reviews, interviews, articles, and photographs go to