When it comes to the ever-growing pool of new wave emo bands, Free Throw has always stood out a lot to me. Free Throw knows how to make very emotional music sound fun, while also displaying some very aggressive vocals throughout its two EPs, which is cool to hear in emo music. When the band announced the debut full-length record, These Days Are Gone, I was very curious to hear what had been created. I am glad to say the release was far above what I was expecting.
The record opens with “Such Luck,” a song that has a bit more of a darker feel than anything Free Throw has done in the past. The grungy first half eventually transforms into something very different for the band. The track sounds huge, which makes for a wonderful introduction. “Two Beers In” has the Free Throw vibe written all over it – but just on a much larger scale than the previous work. The playful vocal melodies that follow the guitar riffs make the first verse unforgettable. “Good Job, Champ” is a very upbeat track. The song even contains a punk beat, which is another thing Free Throw brought to the table on this record. It also contains a part towards the end that houses some of the most aggressive vocals on These Days Are Gone. “Tongue Tied” is full of riffy guitars and catchy vocal melodies. The backing vocals on this track really add a cool element to the chorus, and there’s even a little guitar solo action towards the end.
“Pallet Town” is a song that appeared on an acoustic split with the band Grandview. I fell in love with the acoustic version of this song, but I fell even more in love with the full band version because it contains some very impressive drum work. “An Hour Pissed” is a song that was released on Free Throw’s self-titled EP. The song is a personal favourite of mine, so I was a little hesitant with it being redone. The new intro adds a lot to this song, making it sound a lot bigger than the old version. Rerecording old songs can be tricky when it comes to old fans, but Free Throw had no issue with this one – and I feel other fans will feel the same way. “Kim Tastie” is the ballad of the record; it’s a very emotional song that you feel rather than just listen to, and its infectious melodies suck you right in. The next track, “How I Got My Shrunken Head,” is one of Free Throw’s biggest sounding songs. The musicianship on this one is just outstanding and, for being one of the shortest tracks on These Days Are Gone, this song really packs a punch.
Track nine, “Lets Get Invisible,” has a classic Free Throw vibe. Whether it’s the belting vocals, twangy guitars or energetic drumming, something is sure to grab your attention on this track. “What Day Is It, October?” has a little bit of everything. The song has calm elements, aggressive hooks and even shows off another punk beat. It’s a nice stew of everything that you heard in the last nine songs. The closing track, “Hey Ken, Someone Methodically Mushed the Donuts,” feels properly placed. The track builds up quite nicely, giving the listener a huge sendoff. The last half of this track is one of the most memorable moments of Those Days Are Gone.
Free Throw’s debut full-length record feels like a timeless one. To me, most of these new wave emo bands lose my interest quickly, but Free Throw is always trying new things. Whether it’s being more aggressive than usual or creating hooks that sound bigger than Top 40 pop songs, the band always seems to be pushing the boundaries of the emo sound. These Days Are Gone feels like it’s here to stay, and I can see many listeners adding this release to their list of timeless records they listen to on a daily basis. Free Throw makes a bold statement with this record, and proves this is not just another “emo-revival” band or record.