by James Fleming
Apparently, the defining moment of the writing of this record came when Sam Genders made an abrupt change from his usual singing style to a higher falsetto, a ‘Northern soul warble,’ as his bandmate Mike Lindsay describes it. Unfortunately, it’s also a bland hint of vanilla in what could otherwise have been a very interesting record.
The melding of electronics with strings and acoustic guitars is a refreshing burst of originality in an otherwise banal and mellow genre; the singer-songwriter. Now, there are two people here, the aforementioned Mike and Sam, formerly of Tunng, so they are immediately excluded from this niche market. However, strip away the New Order-esque electronics and the delicate strings to just the guitars and Sam’s falsetto, and that’s what you’ve got.
Then again, we’re not worried about that. What we hear is the whole, finished piece. And that’s what we must take into account. The production sounds distinctly indie-stadium-rock, like so many other bands do, and the voice would not be out of place on a Kodaline album. These are clichés that have gotten very old very quickly; slap ‘em on any ol’ record, and you could have a platinum album.
Thankfully, Throws have added a twist to their self-titled debut; those electronics. The buzz of the synths and the pounding drums when combined with the production are an interesting combination. Certainly not one this writer has heard before.
It works better on some tracks than others. The album kicks off well with ‘The Harbour,’ and ‘Punch Drunk Sober,’ but loses its momentum by track three. ‘High Pressure Front,’ redeems its slow start half way through but is followed up by three nondescript tracks in ‘Knife,’ ‘Sun Gun,’ and ‘Bask.’
And that sort of sums it up really, it builds to a crescendo, and then drops to an anticlimax. ‘Play The Part,’ kicks a bit of life back into the album, ‘Learn Something,’ is pretty solid, and then; spoken word.
‘Under The Ice,’ the album’s final track, is simply not interesting enough to carry a spoken word lyric for the first two minutes. Maybe it’s supposed to be beautiful, but, it falls flat.
A chorus of voices, when it appears, is a welcome change. And just as it builds… that plain spoken, upper-class English accent returns. And that’s it. There’s no salvaging the song after that, even when the chorus returns.
There’s a lot of experimenting going on in music these days, which is great. However, it’s a very mellow, relaxed and comfortable level of experimentation. It doesn’t shock or offend or revolt like, say, The Slits did. Or Captain Beefheart. Or even Bowie did. There’s not an ounce of revolution to be found, and that’s the problem with Throws, it’s entirely too comfortable.