Throw Rag - Desert Shores (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Throw Rag

Desert Shores (2003)


I was ready to write this band off as another imitator, another same-old, same-old, been there, done that before album. In some ways, Throw Rag is that type of band, and Desert Shores is that type of album. And in some ways, these self-described "sailor-rock" boys from the Salton Sea push it a bit and offer something new. Sadly, it's not enough pushing; it's not enough new.

After more unique sonic keyboard intro, "Space Hump Me," the album's opener, lapses into a very tried-and-true late 70s, early 80s old school punk sound. A few chords, a driving beat, chanting, choppy vocals. Nothing you haven't heard before, but it's a cool track.

On, "Hang Up," the second track, you'll start to hear the washboard and cow bell–Throw Rag's much ballyhooed innovation. To me, it's mostly novelty–this band throws some folkish influence, but remains mostly rooted in this simplistic punk style.

There's some energetic offerings–but "Rule Maker" and "Mission's Message" are really the only two I found worth mentioning. To me, Throw Rag just seems kind of bland. There's a broad sound present here from cowbells and mid-tempo roots-folk to an early punk sound–but really nothing catchy, no real standout track. It kind of all blends together, making the album kind of forgettable.

Apparently Throw Rag is notorious for a great live show (how often is this an excuse for a half-ass album?), but here, on their sophomore effort, Desert Shores, I really didn't find anything to write home about. There's definitely some talent–it shines through at times–but I wish Throw Rag had exploited their taste for diverse musicality to make something that didn't sound so utterly familiar.