Review: Throws-Full Time Hobby

Following the split of the folktronica group Tunng, founders Mike Lindsay and Sam Genders have reunited as Throws after 10 years of being apart. Sam left his home town Sheffield and rejoined Mike in Reykjavik, Iceland, where the duo were able to reconnect musically once again. Recorded in an industrial fishing harbour, the duo’s self-titled debut album was released on 10th June 2016 and is a unique and exciting musical expression of life, love and friendship.

Moving forward from their folktronica roots, the album experiments in and around the genres of post-rock, indie, synth pop, and electronica, with an essence of folk and classical instrumentals coming through in subtle intervals. Each track is dense with musical variety, allowing consistently unique sounds to be explored throughout each track and throughout the whole album. Merely reflecting the raw passion of both musicians, and taking on a liberal musical approach, the album avoids any self-indulgent gimmicks, as the tracks focus on the duo’s simple enjoyment of playing music together again without too much fuss or pedantic musicality.

The first track ‘The Harbour’ proclaims: “we are human” as it encourages us to embrace our unique kooky selves; when interviewed about the track, Throws said the message was to: “hold onto the strange and wondrous wonky parts of your personality”. While this single exemplifies the cleverly integrated use of heavy synth, seen in all 10 of the album’s tracks, the quirky music video is wonderfully weird and simplistic, as we watch a man, wearing a quirky retro outfit, skiing on his head. The video demonstrates the duo’s fresh and fun approach to their music.

While most of the album’s vocals resonate in interestingly textured layers, the track ‘Silence in Between’ strips back the synthetic effects and allows us to hear the beautiful warm male vocals. The track’s tone draws in on more natural folk sounds, while the lyrics address the duo’s friendship for the first time. At first apologising for their time apart, the song progresses to say: “I will see the beauty of the silence in between”. This demonstrates how the album is not solely a fun collection of musical vibrancy, but also addresses the issues the duo have experienced with each other, exploring both the struggles of their separation, and also the strength their friendship has gained, having overcome their time apart.

‘High Pressure Point’ perfectly demonstrates the musical variety and contrasts the album achieves, as the mysterious eerie sounds of the first half of the track transforms into a rhythmic, jolly and vibrant tune in the second half. ‘Sun Gun’ is also rich in variety as it oscillates between more simplistic classical and folk instrumentals, featuring the string quartet Amiina in the outro, and complex musical layers of synth and vocals. These are some of many examples of the musical intricacy and delicate thought put into each and every minute of the album.

The final track ‘Under the Ice’ is one to ponder over, as it uses both spoken word and song to tell a fantastical story about a past friendship or relationship. The surreal and mystical lyrics of the track mirror the complex array of emotions which have been intriguingly explored throughout the whole album. It leaves us with the message that we should not be remorseful for something to be over, but instead grateful that it happened; a message which perfectly concludes their magical, exciting, and unique album.

Rowan Bennett

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