Spark Of Life by @robxwallace
Spark Of Life by @robxwallace
New Music

SPARK OF LIFE drive an addictive singalong chorus through a rain kissed London street in great new single “Song Of Hope”

5 mins read

LA post-hardcore band SPARK OF LIFE has reunited after 20 years of being inactive and has collaborated with Fred Armisen on drums to release their new single “Song of Hope.

They will be releasing a split 7” vinyl release along with the band FREEWILL this Spring on New Age Records. The band have shared a music video with the help of their friend Fred Armisen. Check it out above.

During the early 2000s, when SPARK OF LIFE first started, they performed frequently with fellow musicians like Rise Against in Chicago and other local bands in Southern California. The band developed their signature melodic post-hardcore style during this time.

Originating from the same region as famous bands Scared Straight, Strung Out, Strife, and Pulley, in their early days as a band, Spark Of Life blended catchy tunes with influences from classic hardcore bands like Insted and Mouthpiece.

They say you have your entire life to write your first record, and only months to complete your second. But for Spark Of Life, the malleable post-hardcore band that formed in the suburbs of Los Angeles almost 25 years ago, this life has been anything but predictable.

In their original formation, the band—comprised of various musicians over the years, but always centered around the songwriting nucleus of singer Steve Jennings and guitarist Nicholas Piscitello—found themselves an outlier in the pre-social media, pre-everything-at-your-fingertips world of punk rock in the early ‘00s. It was here that Spark Of Life first honed a sound—and a fanbase—that leaned more melodic than the hardcore set, and proved far weightier than what was happening in the world of melodic pop-punk.

By the early aughts, they had amassed a respectable following regionally, and had befriended Russ Rankin, an intensely thoughtful singer who came from another band that knew a thing or two about walking the margins between hardcore and punk, Good Riddance. Their friendship resulted in Spark Of Life’s restless 2003 debut Promises Made. Promises Kept, which was both produced by Rankin and released on his Fat Wreck Chords- backed subsidiary Lorelei Records. And then, as often the case with this band, life took a different turn.

Over the next two decades, Spark Of Life all but disappeared. There was no acrimonious break up and no public acknowledgment of their dissolution. They simply went on with their lives. For a spell, Jennings and Piscitello reunited with former Rise Against guitarist Chris Chasse and Ignite bassist Brett Rasmussen to play in a short-lived, melodic rock act called Last Of The Believers. But in truth, it wasn’t until 2018 that Jennings and Piscitello began to seriously think about kickstarting the band once again.

That fall, Jennings had convinced his friends Rise Against to play a secret show at the same skatepark he worked at in high school. The show was to double as his 40th birthday party and, for the occasion, he offered up reuniting Spark of Life for one night to open up for Rise (something they did countless time in in the early ’00s, before the Chicago band became one of the most reliable hit makers in modern rock history). Looking back, no one uses the somewhat ironic word “spark” to describe what was rediscovered that evening. But their brief reunion undoubtedly reignited the creative spirit between Jennings and Piscitello, who began writing off and on for the next few years. By early 2022, an idea was hatched to record a few of the songs that they had gotten to a point of near completion. They just needed a drummer to round out their new work.

Spark Of Life by @robxwallace
Spark Of Life by @robxwallace

Ultimately, Jennings and Piscitelllo enlisted their friend Fred Armisen, who had come up playing drums with the frenetic art-punks Trenchmouth. The band’s two new tracks (recorded this past summer, partially with Armisen behind the kit) remind fans where Spark of Life have been and the places their sound can conceivably take them. While “Memmer” is a double shot of pop-punk and hardcore that rips straight out of the basement, “Song Of Hope” drives a singalong chorus directly through a rain kissed London street, shimmering with a vintage guitar line reminiscent of The Cure.

But it’s not how these songs sound as much as the emotional weight they carry that show the real evolution Spark Of Life have gone through these past few years. The lens that Jennings’ lyrics are put through—all adult pain and middle aged reflection—show how much hardcore can hit later in one’s life. On “Song of Hope” Jennings exhales a series of apologies in the face of devastating loss: “I just want to see myself in your eyes again,” he sings not sounding like he is pointing a finger, but clearing a tear from his eye.

Spark Of Life by Jonathan Wiener
Spark Of Life by Jonathan Wiener

From these two songs Jennings and Piscitello have begun laying a foundation for the future. They are already at work on their second full-length album—a record that, in some ways, has been 20 years in the making. They have also begun preparing for some sporadic live performances. (Here’s hoping Armisen will join them from time to time.) The songs they are working on now are raw, energetic, and painful all in the same instance. They also miraculously sound like a band being reborn. This is certainly not the way that Jennings and Piscitello imagined this band’s history—or hell, even their own personal lives—would have turned out. But you will also find no one more grateful to see their creative spark rekindled than the two of them.

““The band are friends of mine. They asked me to play drums on a song and that was an easy yes. What a great song. Recording and then doing the video was a lot of fun. Happy to be a fill-in drummer and full time friend!” – Fred Armisen

“Song Of Hope” lyrics:

There’s got to be something here besides the door that locks me out
A place to put my foot on solid ground
And I just want to make good on the promises made to you
A distant side of the ocean
A distant side of the ocean between me now

And I just want to know if you feel this
Sing a song of hope

Like memories lost to hands of time, the world caves in on me
It’s just a product of my own design (my own design)
Like a phoenix rising from the ash, I want to find my way again
I want to see myself in your eyes,
I want to see myself in your eyes again

And I just want to know if you feel this
Sing a song of hope that lasts forever now
And I just want to know if you feel this
Sing a song of hope and I will not let go

I won’t let go

Block by block, just tearing down these walls
Those same walls that kept me here and made me fall
They made me fall

And I just want to know if you feel this (I want to know)
Sing a song of hope. Sing a song of hope (forever now)
And I just want to know if you feel this
Sing a song of hope and I will not let go

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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