Free Throw
What's Past Is Prologue


3.9
excellent

Review

by Atari STAFF
April 1st, 2019 | 38 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I finally learned to love myself

If one thing that can be said about Free Throw’s third full length: it’s certainly not boring to listen to. Kicking up the guitar playing a few notches, the emo band are still singing about beer and their perceived lack of progress… at least, most of the time. On the closing title track, the band takes a head-first dive into optimism. The entire message of the album can be pinpointed to its last two minutes, as lead vocalist Cory Castro attempts to bury his past with a blunt declaration: Today I finally learned to say I love myself!!! He also wrestles with his pride, admitting gruffly, learned that when I truly need some help, not to keep my ***ing mouth sewed shut. We’ve all been in that spot – embarrassed and uncertain if we should share our darker moments with our loved ones. So when Castro comes full circle in the closer – revisiting the insecurities strewn throughout the album and putting them to rest – it’s a hell of a thing to witness.

However, what really makes Free Throw shine above similar emo bands lies in their execution. With sweeping guitar work very reminiscent of Tiny Moving Parts, each track is stuffed with passion and energy. Unlike Bear Your Mind, an effort split down the middle between the more upbeat tracks and somber cuts, What’s Past is Prologue is insanely consistent. They establish the formula early on and stick with it -- each track built with varying doses of adrenaline. There are softer moments, but not a single track here could rightfully be called a ballad. Lead vocalist Cory Castro is beyond impressive here, injecting some of his best performances into nearly every track. I won’t lie - I always thought there were two lead vocalists up until this point. The way Castro starts “Smokes, Let’s Go” with such a fragile demeanor, only to erupt into the coarse cries of “I never should have went to that bar!!!” sounds like the work of two singers, but it’s just Castro’s knack for piecing together two very different singing styles. His range has only improved here. Songs like “Tail Whip, Struggle” (pokemon reference bonus!) and “Today is especially Delicious” find him shouting his way out of every verse in lines that beg you to sing along.

Unlike Free Throw’s prior music, the topics of addiction and depression feel more tongue-in-cheek this time around. Judging by the closer, I don’t think the frontman really starts off each morning with booze for breakfast, but Castro examines his past choices with a self-deprecating humor that makes you grin. I’d liken it to someone being able to look back on their mistakes and laugh at them, rather than just wallowing. What’s Past is Prologue is simply an examination of these life choices told through a potent mixture of Midwest emo and hook-laden pop punk. If their last effort was the band’s dreary fall album, this one is best-suited for the springtime weather. The lyrics now have a sense of hope that was missing from their music, with the improved guitars providing a sturdy backbone for Castro to work with. The only real drawback is the album does feel a bit anticlimactic, but only in the sense that it leaves you wanting more. When Castro finally passes a turning point of self-acceptance during the album’s final breaths, you can’t help but wonder where he’ll go next lyrically. What’s Past is Prologue is a great record, but I’m convinced Free Throw’s crowning achievement is right around the corner.



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user ratings (70)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
JesperL (4.5)
Open up the doors, let the breeze in....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Atari
Staff Reviewer
April 1st 2019


24715 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Jesper beat me to it!



Love this band, but I'm still convinced they could improve (which they've done bit by bit each release imo)



https://freethrowemo.bandcamp.com/

Digging: Telethon - Hard Pop

Observer
Staff Reviewer
April 1st 2019


6849 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

i have this and enjoyed my first listen a lot. nice production job and yeah the tiny moving parts comparision is apt. good read atari

Digging: Fishmans - Long Season

Atari
Staff Reviewer
April 1st 2019


24715 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Cheers Ponton, and welcome back on staff!



I still remember being an asshat of a user back around 2012 and asking you for feedback on my writing lol. now we're on the same team ;)

Danred97
April 1st 2019


2295 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review Atari. I always liked these guys because of their energy and always glazed past the lyrics because they were nothing special imo. This album is a big improvement in the lyrical department. I like how the vocalist is is able to be self aware, but not wanting people to pity him. It's a hard balance to strike, but he managed to do it. Also, love those TMP-esque guitars.

JesperL
April 1st 2019


408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yess really glad this got a staff review! deserves all the exposure it can get

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
April 1st 2019


56815 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

sweet

Digging: Me in Capris - For Those Who Think You

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 1st 2019


9349 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, I'd give this a 3.2-3.3 if I were capable

Digging: Disentomb - The Decaying Light

AdolfChrist
April 1st 2019


21601 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

noice

Digging: Vulture (DE) - Ghastly Waves & Battered Graves

ButtBoy
April 1st 2019


3801 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

kewl

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
April 1st 2019


24903 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

excited to check this

tom79
April 1st 2019


3685 Comments


Never really got into the last one but Those Days Are Gone was a solid record. Might check this.

Digging: Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains

Point1
April 2nd 2019


617 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like the instrumentals but cannot stand the vocalist/lyrics. Sounds like a Jarrod Alonge character sometimes.

Ebola
April 2nd 2019


3608 Comments


this BIG slap

ButtBoy
April 2nd 2019


3801 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just listened to this again. For the first half of the album or so, I was enjoying it a lot more than I did upon my first listen. Instruments are great, production is good, yadda yadda. But dammit the lyrics really drag this down. When a large, hairy, grown ass man starts singing like a baby and says things like "In a room full of people, too anxious to mingle" or "I just want to be a normal person" or "I finally learned to love myself"....it's just jarring and awkward and silly. Like dude you're not 14 anymore, at least find a more creative way of writing these things.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
April 2nd 2019


24715 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

What’s childish about the line “I finally learned to love myself”? Seems pretty normal to me haha. Clearly these aren’t the lines of a lyrical mastermind but he’s obviously passionate about moving towards a better place which was enough for me. Plus, his delivery is often top notch

ButtBoy
April 2nd 2019


3801 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

> What’s childish about the line “I finally learned to love myself"



I feel like it's been written a thousand times, usually by teenagers, in bands not as good as Free Throw. Maybe I just hold them to higher standard...not that Corey has ever been a lyrical genius or anything, but that line is particularly generic and cheesy to me. It is a midwest-style emo band though, so it's to be expected lol

JesperL
April 2nd 2019


408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wouldn't say it's a particularly poetic or brilliant line, but especially in the context of 'Better Have Burn Heal's existence, it's pretty heartfelt and quite far from childish imo

ProjectFreak
April 2nd 2019


3773 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The Tiny Moving Parts comparison is quite apt, this is a more explosive and less noodly version of TMP. A bit homogeneous as things in this genre tend to be, but I'm definitely going to give this a few more spins. nice writeup Atari

Point1
April 2nd 2019


617 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I totally agree that the lyrics are very teenagery and offputting. There's a point where you have to grow up a bit.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
April 2nd 2019


24715 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

cheers ProjectFreak! yeah, I keep going back and forth on my rating. It's definitely a bit homogeneous but the execution is incredibly solid imo



I still can't believe there's just one lead singer lol



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