The american indie scene at the moment is a very thin category full of pop punk attitudes with softer accompaniment; full of people with identity crisis’ basically. However there are some exceptions to this stereotype, will The Front Bottoms break the mould?
The first track is Au Revoir (Adios) which is a short little number which though I found very catchy, seemed very pointless. The lyrics were silly and repetitive (might have been on purpose), the instrumentation was a little boring and the chorus was a bit dull on the surface; very unusual way to open the album.
Skeleton follows and the lyrics are actually much more applicable in this track. With lyrics perfect for teenagers and very reminiscent of early Blink 182, the song could quite easily fit in on a Michael Cera/Jess Eisenberg romcom with ease. Though the songs parts get a little bit repetitive, it’s still fun with strumming bass and chords that are uplifting to listen to. After listening to the recent Foxing record, it is a very satisfying mesh of simple, fun music.
I Swear To God The Devil Made Me Do It is the next mouthful of a track and again I find it very appealing. Sure the instrumentation is basic and a bit simplistic but the lyrics are funny and full of charm. Using points to poke fun at and a rhythm that makes for perfect background listening, I recommend this track very highly.
Twin Sized Mattress is next and my favourite off of the album. The lyrics this time round aren’t quite as fun and uplifting but more thought provoking and metaphorical; it perfectly encapsulates all the connotations of being a teenager you get rammed into your head very well. The instrumentation is basic again but well produced; the little guitar decoration on the tail end of each chorus works well and the bass plays some really funky grooves that are just about noticeable for you to enjoy (not over-powering but make a subtle difference). Though the band can be very much compared to the more popular Modern Baseball, I think here The Front Bottoms take the edge since their use of vocal melodies is more exploratory and varied. The bridge is excellent too giving a resounding climax to the song and a satisfying conclusion to the composition.
Peach follows and uses production effects to create a further varied sound at the intro. It helps differentiate song from song *cough* Foxing *cough* as well as adds something new to the repertoire of the album. The melody is a little forgettable and there are a couple instrumental melodies thrown in that don’t quite hit quite as well but again the lyrics are fun and enjoyable to take in.
Santa Monica has a different tempo again which I admire highly but does fall back to more poking fun which from a critical standpoint might seem easy but hey I’m not a critic I’m a reviewer. There are a couple lines however that work very well and are clever word play that you can apply to your own situation. The song does also repeat some transitions and strumming patterns that have been used in prior tracks but it doesn’t bother me as much as it should. The chorus is also catchy and memorable so I can get behind that a-lot, the trumpets thrown in work well here to give a very positive feel when parts feel like they are dragging.
The feud could be confused with a Blink song very easily. It is high tempo, the vocals are very similar to the likes of Tom Delonge and the instrumental is genuinely more impacting. The lyrics are brilliant again and I feel like a broken record repeating that but honestly I love the writing gone into these songs. The melody doesn’t change up much through the song which can get a little dull but it isn’t a big factor since it still serves very well as backing music.
Funny You Should Ask is another of one of their bigger singles and probably the one with the biggest commercial potential. Again the strumming is the same but it still works somehow, it might be due to the variation between sections. The little synth melodies, electric guitar decoration etc all works unbelievably well to keep the album chugging along well. The bridge is excellent by combining mockery-style lyrics as well as tempo shifts and a blend of building and cliffhangers to keep you waiting for the return chorus. It’s a song that hooks you very well in its mix and keeps you wanting to listen to more and more.
Tattooed Tears changes up the tone of the album with a treble infused guitar paired with vocals that sing a rather bland melody. The instrumentation is functional with sweet decoration again but it is a little repetitive having the vocals melody not shift much and a drum sequence that has been playing the same line since the beginning. There are brilliant moments but not enough to keep you hooked until the end of the song. The bridge however is great with a funky-pop rhythm and bass line that is incredibly catchy and suddenly the song sounds fuller. What was initially a skip song becomes a fun little number towards the end. Funny how a little section can change the entire outlook on the song.
The next song however isn’t worthy of the same accolade, it is a little too simplistic. Re-uses chords in a worse progression and the rhythm doesn’t change enough for it to have much grounding with the rest. The lyrics are still top drawer but the rest of the instrumentation just doesn’t do much for me.
Back Flip sounds like a throwback to the Ritchie Valens hit La Bamba. I saw that because the progression is very similar and there are vocal moments which sound in fairly close correlation. However again the song is a tad too repetitive and similar to the others on the album so it never quite hits any level higher than yawn with me.
Everything I Own kinda continues the trend of nothing really being changed up. The drum beat is huge factor in this because it just doesn’t offer much outside the standard beats they have been using throughout. There are certain transitions that also don’t work too well due to them already being used in a similar fashion on other tracks within the album.
All in all I actually really liked the album, it surprised me and there are couple tracks I’ve had on repeat for a couple weeks now. Sure it’s no technical masterpiece or re-invention of the wheel, but it is a very fun and easy-going album. 7/10 I think is fair since obviously there were a couple tracks I found a bit repetitive but I still recommend the album very highly.
7/10 – The Modern Baseball album that Modern Baseball missed out on.