Personnel: Sigurlaug Gísladóttir, Sam Genders, Mike Lindsay (vocals); Magnús Trygvason Eliassen (drums).
Audio Mixer: Chris Hamilton .
Recording information: Reykjavik Studio.
Photographer: Jennifer Pattison.
The debut album of Throws reunites songwriters Sam Genders and Mike Lindsay of Britain's Tunng, and trades the folk complexion of that indie rock band for Iceland-inspired post-rock. Written and recorded in Lindsay's studio in Reykjavik, the self-titled Throws features guest appearances by experimental string quartet Amiina (frequent collaborators of Sigur Rós) and Sigurlaug Gísladóttir, formerly of Múm. The Icelandic landscape is in full view of the studio and of the album, which offers song titles like "Under the Ice," "High Pressure Front," and the opener, "The Harbour." The latter is visited by choral vocal passages, melodic guitar hooks, tromping synth bass, drums, and spacy atmosphere. It's a catchy, off-kilter tune helped along by Genders' sturdy falsetto, which is often shadowed by a deeper, less prominent Lindsay, giving the impression of an astral plane. A sparser, drums-free entry, "Silence in Between," has only strings, strummed guitar, and vocals, pausing mid-way for a fleeting moment of silence. It's a rare, grounded track, the shortest entry here at less than three minutes. The wistful, over-seven-minute "Sun Gun" launches us back into the ether with buzzing electronics, flickering strings and sound effects, and ghostly vocals on a complementary haunting melody. The familiar sound of piano keeps the song hinged to something organic under more robotic voicings, though it's a little off, not quite genuine, like a picture from home aboard a spaceship. This feeling of an alternate reality is encouraged by lyrics about preparing for a distinct departure ("Goodbye to walking anywhere/We won't be needing our feet"). Later, the rhythmic "Learn Something" borders on math rock but is guided by a big-picture groove and melody. Blending experimental excursions and more straightforward synth pop throughout, Throws isn't challenging so much as eccentric, and overcomes a thread of grayness with a spirited fancifulness. The final track, "Under the Ice," for instance, features a spoken-word narrative that describes a human transforming into a bird, in between segments of pulsing beats and a melodic hook. If that sounds intriguing, this debut shouldn't be missed. ~ Marcy Donelson