I didn’t care about Flood of Red at all back in the day. I did them see them play a tiny night club in my backwater town to about fifteen people with Yashin (back when they just had one singer and still sounded really dated) and I thoroughly enjoyed their set, but that initial EP and the 2010 full length that followed never did it for me.
That Rock Sound session for ‘Whispers and Choirs’ on the other hand did everything for me. I thought that track was nothing short of spectacular. I’ll admit that I thought it was fluke, but ‘Throw’ has proved me entirely wrong. ‘Throw’ is an excellent contemporary rock album which runs the gauntlet from satisfyingly heavy to uncomfortably introspective.
‘Whispers and Choir’s is still probably the best song here, but the album’s opening five tracks are all incredibly strong. It’s been a while since I’ve heard an album with such a strong opening half. The danceable grooves of ‘Lashes’ deserves particular mention for successfully melding a sense of fun and abandon with an emotive punch.
It’s difficult to categorise the music on this release, shifting as it does from some pretty heavy riffage to moments that resemble the fragile nature of post-rock with none of the pretension. I’m certain that some people would call this ’emo’ but a) they don’t actually mean emo music and b) that would imply that Flood of Red sound dated on ‘Throw’ which they certainly don’t. The difference between Flood of Red in 2014 and Flood of Red in 2007 is startlingly. But it is certainly a change for the better.
‘Ye Die, Ye Die’ is probably the most interesting moment on the album, and while repeated listens show it to be a great piece of music, it suffers from being preceded by tracks that are much more immediate. Following those powerful opening five tracks and then the enjoyable disco-tinged ‘Cutting Lines’ it robs the record of some momentum. Which unfortunately isn’t immediately regained by the noisy ‘The Treasury (I have lost)’ which follows it.
While it may seem an odd comparison to draw, ‘Throw’ resembles that notorious Slipknot debut for featuring so many strong tracks in quick succession at its front end. Though the tracks that close the album are more adventurous, and Flood of Red should be applauded for that, they don’t feel as cohesive as the album’s first half. Though the chirping organ in closer ‘White Russian’ is a marvellous touch.
It seems a shame that bands much less imaginative than Flood of Red are getting all the mainstream attention. ‘Lashes’, ‘Whispers and Choirs’ and the title track are much more exciting than the latest Lower Than Atlantis or Mallory Knox singles, and they’re certainly much better than Twin Atlantic. Perhaps if ‘Throw’ reaches the right people Flood of Red might engage an audience so used to being exposed to pretty bland music to try something more interesting.
Even if that doesn’t happen, Flood of Red should take pride in releasing what’s likely to be one of the strongest contemporary rock albums of 2014.
‘Throw’ is released via Superball Music on June 30.