Throwing Copper


Radioactive Records, 1994

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Grunge has its types. There is a "Nirvana" type, fraught with barbarous aggressiveness with no sense of civility whatsoever; a chainsaw in agony inflicted with animal-pain, which somehow heals as it hurts. Then there is the other type of grunge that is refined and cultured, though still effusing with the same anger, but channeled with much more civility: the Throwing Copper-type.

An album which was a big part of the 90s music scene, Throwing Copper was different from the rest of the crowd. While most of Live's Seattle counterparts had blues and metal influences, Live on Throwing Copper incorporated elements from the alternative folk rock music scene of that time and created a folk-grunge record. Hence, with all the meatiness of grunge and the melodic earnestness of folk rock, Throwing Copper is full of radio-friendly hard-rock numbers, such as "Selling The Drama," "I Alone," "Top," and "Shit Towne," which were heavy but easily accessible.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Unlike other grunge acts of the nineties and even those of the present date, Live has been a band driven by deep-rooted spiritualism, and this has been affecting its music greatly. Throwing Copper has a spiritualistic undertone that gives a psychedelic angle to its music. On what seems like a straightforward rock record, Throwing Copper has strangely moody moments on cuts like "The Dam At Otter Creek," "Iris," "T.B.D," and "Pillar Of Davidson" where the album drifts away from the directness of grunge into the abstract realms of prog-rock.

Throwing Copper shows its inner discontent without vomiting out its disharmony and creating a mess; the aggression on this record is marked with a sense of sophistication. Though there are odd occasions -- like the final eruptive moments on "Dam At Otter Creek," and the uncontrollable rage on the back-to-back "Stage" and "Waitress" -- where the band throws things around a little bit, the production still is well-crafted and slick, thanks to the fantastic collaboration with Talking Heads alumnus Jerry Harrison.

At the time Throwing Copper was released, grunge was largely known for its pompous he-man vocals. But Live frontman Ed Kowalczyk, with his versatility in singing with utmost humility when he is not screaming, showed that being a delicate and sensitive singer is not all that bad for this form of music. Throwing Copper, as a matter of fact, is one of the most well-sung albums in grunge. With the gushing guitars behind him, Kowalczyk can blare hysterically "Look where all this talking got us baby" among total tumult in an almost hypnotic cycle (something that would make Kurt Cobain give the thumbs up) on "White, Discussion," and at the same time tune-in to his more softer side and lament over the irony of death caused by birth on "Lightning Crashes," where all the anger is forgotten and forgiven, and all that is left are tears of sorrow.

Throwing Copper is yet another "must-have" record from the grunge era of the 90s. It is a great addition to the other more hardcore grunge offerings from Seattleites of that time. Very few records are as radio-friendly and as full of honesty and substance as this one. It is a blessing for modern rock music.

Rating: A

User Rating: A-



© 2006 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Radioactive Records, and is used for informational purposes only.