Free Throw have been making a name for themselves ever since their debut EP, however, post the release of Lavender Town and Those Days Are Gone the band have gotten a big following and have been playing live solidly with many great names like Sorority Noise, Tiny Moving Parts, and Somos. The band is now ready to set out on tour in support of their new release Bear Your Mind, which released on the 26th of May, an album which has been highly anticipated since their debut full length, but without further ado let’s break down Free Throw’s sophomore record Bear Your Mind.
Opening up this sophomore record is Open Window, which is this slow and gentle track which allows for an interesting opening. The main thing I drag from this track is the gentle yet emotive vocal melodies which lay atop of the simple guitar part before the ultimate fuller sound which ends this track. It is in that moment that Free Throw show everything that people loved from the last record, the full band sound alongside the shouted vocals truly make this track a near perfect opener
Following this opener is a duo of tracks which starts with Rinse, Repeat a song which allows the band to show their musical prowess as these blasting drums that open the track are soon accompanied by this energetic Riff which really adds to the tracks opens no before the vocals come through which not only portray the bands ability in writing great vocal melodies but also these well-constructed harmonies which make the main vocals all that more prominent. The second half of this duo is Randy, I Am The Liquor, the first single off Bear Your Mind. It’s in this track that the band really show off their ability to make a cohesive track that explores different dynamics well whilst all being within a 3 minute run time.
Following this first single is a trio of tracks which start with Weight On My Chest, this is a track in which the lyrics truly add to the overall experience of the track as Cory Castro sings gently about not being able to sleep and having a weight on your chest that you can’t remove. It is in this honest yet powerful vocal presentation that the song finds its feet as despite the instrumentation being interesting both in terms of construction but also dynamics the songs weight is truly brought by the vocals. Following on in this trio is Hope Shot a track in which the instrumentation is subtle, simple. The plucked guitar that exists throughout the majority of the track emotion matches the lyricism on this song before we get this slow but worthwhile build that explodes into some form of realization lyrically but is also this well constructed and powerful instrumental moment that feels almost Shoegazy/Alt. Rock.
Ending off this trio of tracks is Weak Tables which is this well-constructed track which feels like it could have been ripped straight off their last record with the guitar tones and vocal presentation being very reminiscent of some of the best cuts off of Those Days Are Gone. Weak Tables is a big juxtaposition to its name as it is possibly the strongest track on this release, with the instrumentation being tight and interesting and allows the vocals to power on top of the track. Alongside this, the lyrical content of Weak Tables is interesting as the words are beautifully crafted and allow for some really beautiful moments from the tracks offset.
Coming next on this sophomore record by Free Throw is a duo of tracks starting off with Andy and I, Uh… a song whose opening feels very different to the rest of the record, however as soon as the main body fo the song kicks in the sound is more recognizable. Despite this, Andy and I, Uh… is a fun song which is full of dynamic changes and well constructed vocal melodies. It is also in this song that the band address the album’s title which allows this song to somewhat act, even if indirectly, as the title track. Accompanying this track is Cal Ripkin Jr. Johnson. Unfortunately, at this point, nothing in this track comes as surprise, even though this song is a strong cut off of the record the Free Throw don’t bring anything new to the table during this number. However, this song does still showcase the band in a positive light as the dynamic changes are still impressive as the song transfers from these subtle muted moments to a full and powerful ensemble moment, still making this track a joy to listen to.
Following on from this duo is what is possibly the weakest song on the record, not due to the instrumentation which is yet again well orchestrated and interesting but due to the vocal presentation that exists on this song. Dead Reckoning as a track displays these soft vocals but add in these far more screamed moments which although adding to the message of the song, unfortunately, drag this particular track down.
As the album starts to draw to a close the final duo of tracks come into view. Better Have Burn Heal is the first of these songs and it is a great throwback as it feels very reminiscent of Slam With the Best or Jam like the Rest off of their EP Lavender Town. However, the band add in these extra moments of interesting instrumentation before they change the dynamics of the song which only add to the overall feel of the track. This track is the closest contender for the strongest cut off this record as the overall presentation of this song in terms of both instrumentation and vocals is second to none.
Following on in this duo is the album’s closer Victory Road which is this somber and slow cut which not only encompasses the messages that Free Throw bring forward time and again across this record but it also shows the bands ability to write a song that can solely exist of slower instrumentation which allows for the vocals to take the forefront and have the instrumentation simply support the song whilst also adding to the feel and presentation of the track. It is again in this track that Cory Castro’s vocals are simple yet effective, partly due to the lyricism on this song but also for the impressive vocal melody.
Overall this new record from Free Throw isnt one to let pass you by, as yet again this band are putting an album out which is not impressive instrumentally but it also a wonder vocally from start to finish. The band’s mix of soft and harsh vocals add to their ability in mixing different musical dynamics that they present time and again on Bear Your Mind. This album isn’t perfect but it feels pretty close, this similar to Remo Drive’s record this year is perfect for any fan of emo music, however, there is something about this record that puts it just above that record. Free Throw defintely get nothing but net with Bear Your Mind. [9/10]