Review Summary: Artificially pleasing.
There’s really not too much to say with Free Throw’s newest album, Bear Your Mind
and I think that’s okay. If you’re a fan of their debut LP, Those Days Are Gone
, then you’re most likely going to at least appreciate this album as their days of yelling-core emo are far from gone, despite the three-year gap. In all honesty, this sounds like a calculated “maturation” of their sound as it’s obvious they formed an agenda when they asked themselves “where do we go from here?”. Despite appearing somewhat vapid, it’s hard to fault the band since they really did
improve many of the things any band would try to advance when deciding to stubbornly plant their feet within the genre of emo. The songwriting is admittedly much tighter as the five-piece restrains themselves from naturally exploding every single song (closer ‘Victory Road’ being the most obvious case). Overall the production is cleaner, the vocal performances are crisper, the guitar tones are well-thought out and the album’s structure is even more deliberate. Even (some of) the lyrics have matured as lead singer Cory Castro no longer wails about failed relationships but rather failed parenting (“At the age of ten//My father showed me//What men are truly made of//And that's what I'm afraid of
") and his own mental vices (“And there's gotta be a way to bring my mind back from the cold
”). Due to the improvements of lyrics, they no longer hit hard because they are cheesy and sing-alongable, but rather because they are depressingly more real and in anguish. Because of all this, it’s an album people should
love more than the debut. All the ingredients are there and Free Throw has done a great job of meticulously mixing them all together with precision and care. Yet, I miss the rawness of their earlier days, the unbridled energy and the “I don’t care if this is cliché, I’m fucking dejected” attitude. With that being said, this is no doubt a well-done album, it’s just that I can ever-so-slightly taste the artificial flavoring.