The Smith Street Band - Throw Me In The River (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Smith Street Band

Throw Me In The River (2014)

Poison City / SideOneDummy

Everyone has their breakup album and for The Smith Street Band, Throw Me In The River, is just that. The pacing of the album flows like the ocean, climbing and retreating, cymbals crashing like waves and driftwood emotions afloat in a sea of conflict. From heartbroken “Calgary Girls” to the bitterness in “I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore,” frontman Wil Wagner takes you through the anguish of love lost. For these Australian alt rockers this is their On the Impossible Past; heart-on-sleeve lyrics accompanied with beautiful melodies. Throw Me In The River provides the insight into the lonely, greyscale world one dwells in after being ripped out of one where you’re cherished.

The album opens with “Something I Can Hold In My Hands” which sets a scene of the romanticized life of being in a band. Heartstrings are tugged with “Surrey Dive” where Wagner sings, “come on just punch me in the face so at least you’ll think you’re right, lose the war and win the fight and I’m running scared.” The sincerity in his voice makes your heart feel like it has been crumpled up like a cast away letter.

Personal favorite, “Calgary Girls,” reflects on sweet moments and the aching and uncertainty of going forward alone. Wagner’s narrative is so honest and has a familiarity to anyone who has gone through a serious breakup. A particular verse that stood out, “we used to lie right here and speak, we were fucking great between these sheets, that she bought, to replace, the old ones she left when she needed her own space.” It transports back to a time where you've been haunted by memories of everyday items in an empty home.

It’s hard to not get caught up emotionally with the sincerity of Wagner’s vocals; you feel like you've tumbled under the current, directionless, struggling to breathe and without a hand outstretched to help you resurface. The album’s title track, “Throw Me in the River” has such raw emotion that getting caught up in it can leave you breathless, deflated and recalling a remorseful time in your own life.

This record shows a very strong partnership between bassist James “Fitzy” Fitzgerald.and drummer Chris Cowburn who carries the pacing of the record and flawlessly execute their parts. Each song is perfectly balanced--- not too guitar/vocal heavy and no element un-featured; which comes as no surprise when you have a talented attention-to-detail mixer like Jon Low (Restorations, The Menzingers, The National).

The album builds it’s finale with “I Love Life” which is focuses mainly as an instrumental track and is the perfect return after the 45 minute, eleven track journey Wagner’s voice has carried you through. This is the best The Smith Street Band has produced yet and if their signing to SideOne is any hint, they'll only get better and better.