Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Album Review: I'm Very Sad by Throw

Throw are another of those brilliant Bandcamp discoveries. The three piece from Portland, Oregon, recently released a brand new album titled I'm Very Sad. When I was clicking through Bandcamp on the hunt for my new favourite band, I was drawn to Throw because of the Fugazi-ish artwork that has been produced for I'm Very Sad.

I'm Very Sad begins with the song Atlas; Bummed. This is a loud and fast punk rock jam that quickly gets you invested into the album. I really enjoyed how the majority of the song is sung by two vocalists. This gives it a sing along quality that pulls you into the song and the tempo in which the song is played leaves you breathless in the best possible way. The song talks about realising that things are getting hard but not doing anything to try and make things better. The next track is named Jake Never Owned A Bird. On this song there is a hint of Skiba about the vocals that really adds a lot to the Throw sound. The track is about someone you care about leaving for years and then expecting to just waltz back into your life like everything is fine. My first thought was that this song is about this happening in a relationship but could also be about a friend or a parent. The third track is named Crawlspace and is about trying to live someone else's life and eventually getting caught out. It tells the story of spying on your neighbours and getting so caught up in their better lives that you end up sneaking into their house. Kind of creepy stuff. I really enjoyed the narrative style of the song, it plays out like a music video.

Drinking Wine With My Dad is about exactly what you think it is about. There seems to be more urgency in the delivery of the vocals on the track. Musically it feels a bit harder than the previous songs with the drum skins taking a real pounding, adding a great amount of power to the track. The fifth song is named Wisconsin (May For Effort). It starts out slow (for Throw's standards, at least) with some guitar and vocals that lead you into the song before launching into a blisteringly fast pop punk track. This song is one of the big highlights on a phenomenal album. It's one of those super fast songs that I just want to shout along with but struggle oh so much because of the super fast tempo. The song is about horrible Wisconsin winters that are really difficult to get through - physically and mentally. It doesn't sound like an appealing place to live. After the four second long Trees, comes the seventh song Steamroller. Steamroller is another big highlight on I'm Very Sad. It is about breaking up with someone and all the dirty laundry that can sometimes get aired. The trade off in vocals are just wonderful. I'm not sure if the two vocalists are playing the role of the same person or they are arguing with each other through song. Either way it works brilliantly and adds extra energy into the track.

The high energy and big sing-alongs continues on song number eight, Pass The Prozac. The dual vocals are again on display beginning with the deeper, Skiba-like, more melodic style before gradually blending to the snottier and more intense vocals. Both styles complement each other extremely well and add so much to the overall Throw sound. The track is about the after affects of taking anti-depressants and how they can numb your feelings towards things. SeaShip is more of a laid back song (again, for Throw) about missing out on an opportunity to date the girl that you like. Stylistically the song feels more like an indie pop punk track than the more raucous nature of the rest of the album. It's again though a really really good song that I loved from start to finish. From the opening sing-along to the jangly guitars and the brilliantly catchy chorus, SeaShip is superb. After what is perhaps the best sing-along intro on I'm Very Sad, the tempo is upped once again on the ninth song Smoke 'Em. This melodic number hooks you in so well and is one of the more emotional songs on the album. It's about knowing that you don't have much time left on this earth and wanting to go out in your own way. It's well cheery. This is a song that I imagine is just brilliant live and must get such a great reaction.

Penultimate song Skin Hotel begins with an exhilarating drum explosion that gives the album a final boost as we race to its finale. I feel like the song is about being on such hard times that you have to sell your body. (I'm so sorry if that's completely wrong). It's a really sad song about being in such desperate times you have to go to desperate measures to try to survive. Despite this, musically it's quite upbeat and even chucks in a joyous "woo!" at the end of the track. I'm Very Sad finishes with the song Spaceship. Spaceship sees Throw slip into more of an 80s So Cal punk sound. Think of early NOFX, Pennywise and Bad Religion (who have a riff borrowed in the song). The song tells a story of a journey through space and the politics in the 80s. Listening to the track, there are so many little references to the decade so brilliantly written in. Throw have kindly supplied the lyrics on Bandcamp – go check them out and see which references you can spot. Spaceship is the final proper track on I'm Very Sad but the album is actually completed by a reprise of the song Trees. This version is a lengthy eleven seconds long and finishes the album of with a bit of a giggle.

I fell in love with I'm Very Sad on my very first listen. It's such a good album from start to finish, no song felt like filler and all could be my favourite on the album depending on my mood. Throw have this unique sound that they've brilliantly coined as "stress punk." I wish them all the success in the world with this album and hope it does well enough for them to find their way other to the UK soon as I imagine these songs are even better live.

Stream and download I'm Very Sad here: https://throwpdx.bandcamp.com/album/i-m-very-upset

Like Throw here: http://www.facebook.com/throwpdx

This review was written by Colin Clark.

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