Saturday, 1 April 2017

Album Review: Fine, Fit & Well by Throwing Stuff

Throwing Stuff are a band who seem to have been a part of the UK punk rock scene for a long time now so it's kind of surprising that they've only just gotten round to releasing their first proper album. Previously they have released demos, splits and a collection of all their material but never a full LP. Until now where with the help of TNSrecords, Throwing Stuff are releasing Fine, Fit & Well on April 7th. After enjoying the band live for a number of years, I was really looking forward to hearing this effort.

If you've ever heard Throwing Stuff before, live or on record, you'll know that the four piece from Manchester, Liverpool and London play an incredible intense style of thrashy punk rock. Music that doesn't always take itself too seriously but also is not afraid to tackle the serious issues. You will also be aware of the fact that Throwing Stuff don't really do long songs. In fact looking back over their past material, only one song goes over three minutes and few go over two. With that information you probably won't be surprised that the fifteen tracks on Fine, Fit & Well in total is only twenty minutes in length. There are no wasted notes here. It's a case of get in, make your point, make a lot of noise and get out as quickly as you can.

When I first looked at the track listing I noticed that a couple of old Throwing Stuff favourites had found their way onto this album. Five Pound Beers, which is a track about moving away from somewhere you think is rubbish and then realising the grass isn't greener as well. Another old favourite to appear on Fine, Fit & Well is Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs is simply about hating your job. Like with most Throwing Stuff songs, there is a raw ferocity to the track with vocalist Ben sounding as angry as ever. The lines "Fuck Your Job, Fuck Your Boss, Fuck Casual Fridays, Fuck The Lot" will resonate with many people listening to the song.

Now on to the actual new stuff. The opening song on the album did its job in hooking me into the album brilliantly. It's classic Throwing Stuff. Named Tracy Chapman, the song starts with a angry rant by Ben about the people who are in power destroying the world that he loves. When the song starts properly we have a fast and frantic cry for things to change and hiding away until a revolution comes.

A number of different subjects are tackled on Fine, Fit & Well, one being the issue of mental health and anxiety. I Know Best is a song about Ben's own struggles with mental health in the last year. Ben talks/screams about being stubborn and thinking that you know what's best for you whilst ignoring any help you are offered. Hangxiety is a forty-eight second song about dealing with your mental health issues by getting drunk to block out your anxiety and feeling even worse for it the next day. I have a massive amount of respect for anyone who is brave enough to speak about their own mental health issues in such a public forum. Suicide is the biggest killer of men in their twenties in the UK so mental health is something that needs to be spoken about as often as possible.

Of course, there are some nice and angry songs on the album as well. We Wrote This Song Before David Cameron Resigned was another stand out song on my first listen of Fine, Fit & Well. The opening line of "Never Trust A Man With One Sock On" really made me smile - seems like sound life advice. The use of dual vocals on the song is superb with bass player Jamie adding his voice for an excellent one-two combination during the verses. The chorus of "I Don't Care What You Do In Your Bedroom, I Don't Care If You're A Dishonest Christian" instantly plants itself in your brain and will remain rooted for days. The hardcore sound of The Hunter was a nice change of pace. Still as hard as ever, the band take on a slower paced sound that builds towards the end. The Hunter is about the trading of rhino horns and just how disgusting those that partake in such a barbaric activity are.

The final song I want to talk about is definitely the most heart wrenching track on the album. Fine, Fit & Well's closing song is named Father's Day and is about Ben's experiences in coping with his father's terminal brain tumour over the past year. The album's title comes from a line in this song and is a phrase that Ben's father would say throughout his life. The lines that really stood out to me were "And I'm Wondering If You'll Ever Get To Hear This Song" and "There's A Reason Why I'm Holding Back The Tears, I Just Don't Know How Long That You'll Be Here" are both incredibly heartbreaking even for someone who doesn't know Ben. This is some of the most honest and bravest songwriting that I've ever heard.

Fine, Fit & Well is an album that is well overdue but well worth the wait. It's everything you'd expect from Throwing Stuff and much more. It documents a band that are at the very top of their game both musically and lyrically. A fantastic addition to TNSrecords's incredible roster of bands and their discography.

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This review was written by Colin Clark.