Sparta Austere

The three non-Afro sporting members of At the Drive-In sure wasted no time getting back on their musical feet following the demise of that late, great El Paso prog-punk quintet a couple of years ago. This stopgap, four-track EP is designed to fill the void while we wait for the much anticipated full-length out this summer. Sounding like ATDI without the intensely strained, screaming vocals, Sparta continues to mine experimental post-punk territory first explored by their forebears and bands like Girls Against Boys. While the EP is heavy on the electro-rock, it also sounds a little rushed in the production department, and Jim Ward sounds like he's trying to find his own voice. With more time to fully develop the songs and a little studio wizardry, the full-length promises to be a kicker. Three additional songs are available in demo form on the band's web site. (Universal)