Reviewed by Darcie Stevens, Fri., Oct. 27, 2006
It's a simple law of physics hypothesized by Galileo: A dropped object steadily increases its velocity as it nears the Earth's surface. Enter At the Drive-In dropouts Sparta. After El Paso's ATDI hit rock bottom unexpectedly, Sparta released the highly anticipated and addictive Wiretap Scars. Good, but no "One Armed Scissor." 2004 found Porcelain marketability, introduced a swan motif, and ended a relationship with Geffen. Two years later, Jim Ward & Co.'s third LP emerges as a nearly unlistenable, shiny mess of weepy college rock sans original guitarist Paul Hinojos. Opening with formulaic screamo romp "Untreatable Disease," Threes is quickly dragged under the wheels with "Crawl," a generic, passionless, escapist pill soon followed by kissing cousins "Taking Back Control" and "Weather the Storm." Emotive ballads "Unstitch Your Mouth" and "Atlas" are nauseating, and we dare you to make it through the last minute and a half of oh-yeahs on closer "Translations." Hardcore fans might find this unduly harsh; some might realize that all good things must end. But as Galileo said, the speed of the fall only increases with time. Someone find a net.