Throat - Smile Less

15 May 2021 - Thorsten

Noise-Rock | Svart Records | Release date: 14 May 2021

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Throat from Turku, Finland are back and they command you to Smile Less. Command? Yeah, command! Otherwise you might find yourself with a band at your throat, a fist in your mouth and a few teeth less. Throat and their latest threat are out for you!

Daughters, The Birthday Party, Unsane, The Jesus Lizard, Big Black – just to namedrop the five cornerstones to this devilish Noise-Rock-meets-Post-Punk-pentagram. This quartet is charming like Alexis Marshall’s noise-core-institution. They have a singer who sounds a lot like Nick Cave, is eruptive like Chris Spencer’s proto-noise band. And it becomes very obvious that they learned some trades from the first-wave-noise bands: the unpredictability of Yow’s and the funkiness of Albini’s. However, the first comparison that sprung to mind was Daughters and the way that they constructed their last record You Won’t Get What You want: At first listen, one has the impression of a “well-mannered” crocodile: you see the elegance of it and yet you feel the danger emanating from it.

With the release of this third regular full-length (not counting the re-working of one of the former records), the second on Svart Records, Throat show how post-punk should be done: without mental barriers, open to a lot of things from noise-rock to electronica. The short noise attacks amidst the wonderfully pushing beat of the opening track ”Conveyer Line” are a promise that great things will follow. The stomping ground and the short but feisty rim-kicks along with the funky bass make the second track ”Grounding” one of those unique choices that you might hear in the Titty Twister-bar, and even the lyrics fit: ”No emotion […] It’s all downhill from here […] No good can happen here” - remember these folks are out for you and when the song kicks in a frenetic guitar solo – they got you. That the third track opens like a straight stoner-track comes as a surprise because one might have thought to have the band figured out. Obviously we haven’t. And all of that plays into the hands of Throat: A record like this should not remain within its basic genre, the more diversity of sound, song and structure will serve the overall impression, will give the whole record some plenitude of pleasures and the possibility of discovering new bits and sounds with each listen. And isn’t that exactly what the genre was always about?!

One track that must definitely be mentioned is the fifth track, ”Home Is Where Your Hurt Is”: A droney track with a lot of distortion on some harsh layered sounds resulting in a sound-landscape of industrial rot and decay with the vocals blaring over some malfunctioning speakers – something straight out of a Jesu or Godflesh-infused creativity. When the swirling guitar-line comes up after half of the track is turns it an electronic noise track that is close to blackened-ambient like Aphex Twin, without the chaos!

Smile Less is a threat and yet one cannot but listen to this record. It is like a companion-piece to Daughters’ last one, it is funky and dancey, it is attacking and pushing. Of course, we should take the title with a grain of salt for we are not listening to a grindcore-band running amok but to a noise-rock-quartet that uses the basic idea of the genre and their own skills to create some really addictive tracks.