Nashville Emo outfit, Free Throw, have returned with their much anticipated second LP Bear Your Mind. This Triple Crown Records debut follows the group’s 2014 debut LP Those Days Are Gone, an instant classic in the emo revivalist scene. Bear Your Mind follows three years of heavy touring schedules and a handful of split EPs with various Emo contemporaries, however it doesn’t live up to the hype that was surrounding it.
The record comes up short in conveying the shame emotional struggle that Those Days Are Gone carried. There’s not as strong of a resonant tone and the lyrical content doesn’t feel nearly as gut wrenching and real as its predecessor. Like former tour mates Tiny Moving Parts and Prawn, Free Throw have gained a reputation about being a party emo band. Their whole shtick is to get drunk and have a good time to release a cathartic energy among their crowd. The music always reflected this, there was an energy and tonality of it that was straight forward emo, but one could still have a good time while listening.
The band falls short in living up to the hype that was surrounding this release. Like many artists, they were unable to follow the critical success of their well-received debut. However, it’s still a solid album full of contemporary emo songs that are easily digestible and relatable. The issue with Bear Your Mind is that the sense of direction is lost. The on-brand twinkling riffs and mathematical drums are replaced by heavy chords and often-times bashful drumming. There’s no logical progression in the songwriting and if anything feels regressed.
Often, more polished recordings with a higher budget mix and master are well-received. While New Jersey’s Barbershop Studios did the band justice, it loses its bedroom, lo-fi charm and fades into the obscurity of every other polished emo record.
Bear Your Mind is an enjoyable listen, but won’t stand the test of time or find nearly as much critical success as Those Days Are Gone Did. There won’t be another three-year album cycle off of this one.