Free Throw – “Those Days Are Gone” Review

Posted: by Henderson

Those Days Are Gone is now STREAMING on AV Club. Listen while you read!

Those Days Are Gone is now STREAMING on AV Club. Listen while you read!

I’ve long been a fan of Nashville’s Free Throw. Their self-titled debut EP featured funny song titles, a bunch of samples, and guitar driven emo jams. Sound like anyone else you know? I was enthralled. The debut was followed by another great EP Lavender Town, which largely used the same formula, but Free Throw was beginning to develop their hybrid sound. Within almost every song, the guys alternate between smooth guitars/vocals and gritty scream-alongs. They are remarkably good at it, and this style makes the songs emotional but exciting and fun to sing. Few bands can balance this combo so well. Seeing that ability in only a band’s 2nd EP was exciting and led Lavender Town to be nominated for our award for Best Non-LP of 2013.

These early releases led to high expectations for their debut LP, and a signing to CYLS Records was very encouraging. It’s easy to build up highly anticipated releases in your head, so I was worried that expecting even more improvement from them on their debut was too much. Luckily, I was wrong.

On These Days Are Gone, Free Throw have further refined the hybrid sound of Lavender Town. Sure they’ve dropped the samples (I’ll have to add my own), but the same elements are present and improved. The smooth parts are more melodic, the guitar parts are more delicate, the screams are strategically placed. Is it perfect? No. Is it all that I wanted? Yes.

It has to be said that These Days Are Gone is a breakup album. Much like Transit’s Keep This To Yourself (a personal favorite), each track on Free Throw’s new record breaks down the feelings one has toward an ex after things have gone sour. I’ve heard complaints that this is kind of sappy and depressing, but that is exactly what I want out of a break up song, and I like how the break up aspect adds a consistent theme to the album. If you aren’t in the mood for songs with heart wrenching lyrics about an ex you love/hate, then you might need to look elsewhere, but if that is your goal, you’re in the perfect place.

Definitely listen to the opening track, “Such Luck”, which hits every breakup nerve with lines like “I know blowing up your phone is a bad idea, it’ll make me feel worse, God it makes me feel worse”. This album will be great to scream along to live.

Another goodie is “Two Beers In”, which tells the story of being at a party you don’t want to be at. On “Tongue Tied”, drums/bass takes the lead, producing one of the coolest instrumentals on the entire record. “How I Got My Shrunken Head” has twinkly guitars that remind me of the recent Prawn album, and “Hey Ken, Someone Methodically Mushed The Donuts” seals the album with a nice breakdown and is the perfect end cap to this emotional jam of a record.

The things that attracted me to Free Throw’s distinct style of emo rock are still here. In fact, they’re improved. Free Throw is growing into becoming a bigger and better version of itself. Emotional lyrics, dynamic vocals, sweet guitars and a driving rhythm, it’s all there. Keep on bringing the heart Free Throw.

– Hendo