Free Throw combines rock, emo, indie, punk, and pop punk all into a major Album of the Year contender with Bear Your Mind.
An acoustic, raw, and emotional “Open Window” opens up this record with a more somber intro that leads itself to a crashing, passionate end, prepping its audience for the powerful journey that follows. One of my favorite things in songs is when there’s progression within a song, which is one of the things I love about Free Throw. In “Randy, I Am The Liquor” the lyrics show very obvious progression from “Drunk in my room, alone again / For the second night this week,” the song goes into the “third night” and “fourth night.” A simple change, but I love it. The next track, “Weight On My Chest,” surprised me. I wasn’t expecting to come across a song that deals with a topic as specific as sleep paralysis. Having personally dealt with sleep paralysis, I can attest that this song paints an incredibly accurate portrait of what it’s like to experience it. From the incapacity to move, to the questioning “What did I do wrong to deserve this,” to the desperate desire for the demons to leave, to tightness, or weight, in your chest, to the relief after it’s over, “even if it’s momentarily.” Another highly-relatable track is “Weak Tables,” with “On the outside I’m a social butterfly / but on the inside, it buries me alive,” and as the song progresses, it talks of wanting to break out of this feeling, but also not being sure if that’s what you want, leaving a generalized feeling summed up into “fuck it, I don’t know.” The guitar riffs feel so smooth and when paired with the drums work so well to build up the song at its peaks. “Better Have Burn Heal” and “Victory Road” both talk about hating yourself and trying hard to lessen the burden on your mind, as the latter ends the record on a more positive, open-ended note, grabbing a drink with someone with “the cutest smile.” I love this record from beginning to end. It’s emotional, driven, talks about an assortment topics, and has this charm about it that makes you keep listening. I love how serious it can get, and I love it ending on a heartening note, full of potential and possibility.
Overall: A definite AOTY contender. Highly relatable, while talking about topics that aren’t often talked about.
Review by Shane Haley