Throat – Smile Less

Rob O’Hara

If you’re a fan of melodic post-punk blended with ambient noise, heavy bass tones, jarring guitars, and a variety of vocals, then Finland’s Throat might just cover all of your musical needs and more with their newest release, ‘Smile Less’.

Having listened to Throat’s back-catalogue, with ‘Smile Less’ they have honed their sound into a largely cohesive effort inside of each individual song, yet kept their experimental side alive through the release from track to track. It can become all too easy for bands to fall into the trap of producing the same song over and over, but Throat is nowhere near that category of band.

Each song differs from Throat’s interpretation of melodic and sometimes distorted vocals, ambient sounds, and thundering drums. A perfect example of this is the opening track, ‘Conveyor Line’, which draws you in and mesmerizes you with a deep, haunting, and chant-like melody through vocalist, Jukka Mattila.

There is an energy throughout this record that indicates to me that Throat is on a balls-deep journey into the exploration of sound. The track, ‘Shots’ reflects this. A heavy punk rock song with roaring vocals and a familiar upbeat tempo, it is distinctly different from the two opening tracks on the LP.

Moving through ‘Smile Less‘, Throat brings in glimpses of their progressive tendencies with walls of noise and feedback. This is highlighted in the truly experimental track, ‘Home Is Where The Hurt Is’, where they give the nod to the progressive noise side with distorted vocals and a pounding repetitive drum rhythm. This track, however, leads me to think the band truly has no limits in experimenting with sound, and whilst this is good in theory, a newer fan might find the track hard to listen to.

Elsewhere, ‘Vanilla Cuts’ appears to be in a similar vein to ‘Shots’ which allows accessibility for newer fans of Throat or those who are unfamiliar with their sound. The track has a vaguely familiar feel of early Baroness to it, which is keeping in good company.

Throughout the record, the dirty, over-driven bass really carries some of the songs, especially in the track ‘Deadpan’. It contrasts the hypnotic guitars perfectly and wouldn’t sound of place in a playlist alongside bands such as Drive Like Jehu, Frodus, and Refused.

All in, this is a solid effort from Throat who is clearly a band who likes to experiment and divert from the well-beaten track of verse-chorus-verse. For those of you who are new to the band, check out their older releases and find which side of Throat you like.

Throat’s ‘Smile Less’ comes out via Svart Records on May 14th 2021. You can pick it up here.

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