So… I need to come clean—This album came out in May, but because of the band’s perseverance over the past two years with Bar/None records Front Bottoms’ 2011 self titled album only recently came across my desk. Upon giving it a spin, I immediately tracked down their entire discography and I’ve had them on repeat all day, every day, since.
Like many people, I dabble in a lot of different genres. Every so often, I revert into this small, comfortable, corner of music (and sometimes stay there … 2002-2005, I’m lookin at you). I personally categorize it as college alternative. Its been called many things and hearing this title many would understandably link it to bands like Dave Matthews Band, the Guerrillas, or Pearl Jam, but for me it was a bit deeper in the garage/pop spectrum – songs I felt I could have contributed to myself, readily dissected into 3 instruments (or so) and easy to reproduce. Bands where the talent lies in simplicity, vocal melody, and 4/4 timing: Phantom Planet, (early) Saves the Day, Say Anything, and the Dismemberment Plan … with notes of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Metric, and Rooney. The pop bands people want to listen to.
Hailing from New Jersey, the Front Bottoms cover all the bases, arranging clever (and at times hilarious) lyrics with ultra catchy suburban guitar. Even after I listened to Talon of the Hawk streaming for free about 8 times (check it out here) I still shelled out money for the album. The originality, authenticity, and catchiness found on it just hasn’t been seen in about a decade. As a result, it lands unusually high on my scale, a big 4.7 of 5 stars, and reinstates my interest outside of my usual “college-alt” spectrum. If you don’t believe me, check out Front Bottoms’ Amazon.com reviews; displaying a smooth 5 stars for both of their last two albums.
Recommended tracks on Talon of the Hawk:
Swear to God the Devil Made Me Do It
Twin Size Mattress
Funny You Should Ask
If you care to dig deeper:
We can only hope that Will Yip will pick them up and add his edge to the mix, if he promises not to push their complexity. They’re currently on tour in Europe, but expect big things upon their return. Hopefully there is still time to catch them in a smaller venue.
“[Maybe] they could find something for you to do on stage… maybe shake a tambourine…or when [they] sing… you sing harmonies.”