“Throw It Up” – Seazoo

Launched off a satisfying, off-kilter progression of four crunchy guitar chords, “Throw It Up” is a friendly, non-stop slice of catchy-quirky indie rock, courtesy of an up-and-coming Welsh quintet.

Let’s start back with those guitar chords. First: guitars! Slashy, crunchy guitars. Such sound must be honored here in 2019. I love all sorts of instruments, and am fine with many and varied electronic devices, but I will unceasingly repudiate the extremist cultural rejection of the guitar as an instrument in popular music. And will therefore celebrate with a bit of extra oomph those musicians and bands that still find guitars attractive and useful. Me, I can’t help seeing the lack of guitar in today’s pop world as an admission that performative musical aptitude is no longer a contributing factor in songs that are fed into the Pop Industrial Complex. This is not a news flash, of course. And it’s not to say that there aren’t other talents involved in what emerges onto today’s Hot 100. But as an old-school music fan my ears respond to music that at some level sounds palpably related to individual human capacity, connecting the heart, body, and soul. Maybe that’s just me.

But hey—turns out this is only a semi-unrelated tangent. Although it’s hard to discern from listening to the song, “Throw It Up” was inspired by people front man Ben Trow has seen who are re-thinking their attachments to some of the 21st-century conveniences and technologies that we’ve been sold over the last decade or so. The song, he says, is “about making the decision to reject something in an attempt to improve well-being.”

“Throw It Up” in any case is a fast-paced smiler, enhanced by Trow’s plainspoken vocal style, which conveys a steady bemusement even as the song rushes by. And my paean to guitar work notwithstanding, I love as well the keyboard sounds that founding co-member Llinos Griffiths weaves in and around the general crunch—you’ll hear her in earnest starting around 0:58; the keyboards get emphasized further in the chorus, and then have a wonderful showcase during the instrumental break starting at 1:46, tracing out noodly, sonic pathways and nuances I can’t begin to find words to describe. Maybe even better are the skidding, sci-fi flares going up in the background around 2:08. Did I say this was a guitar song? Actually maybe not.

Online as of mid-August, “Throw It Up” is the first Seazoo release since their debut album, Trunks, in 2018—which by the way you should definitely check out on Bandcamp. Based in Wrexham, the band began as a duo, but radio play led to invitations to perform live, which led to Trow and Griffiths realizing they needed an actual band, which they now have. By all accounts they are currently finishing up a second album, which I hope you are now eagerly awaiting.