The Front Bottoms – Going Grey
Released: 13th October 2017
Brian Sella – Vocals | Guitarist
Mathew Uychich – Drums
The Front Bottoms have perfected the physical embodiment of an awkward, confused young adult, as they present, new album Going Grey; An eclectic sounding record with the forever unique vocals we’ve come to expect from the two piece. I can personally pledge that you’ll relate to at least one track on this album.
My experience with this band is that people either love them or hate them. This can largely be attributed to their rough around the edges sound, which I’ve personally always found quite charming. However Going Grey sees the boys angling for a slightly cleaner sound (with the exception of one or two tracks) that I would best compare to that of The Wombats. This isn’t a bad thing though; it actually works in their favor in some cases.
Tracks like ‘Raining’ and ‘Far Drive’ end up sounding significantly more mature as a result of the cleaner approach. This is set in contrast to ‘Don’t Fill Up On Chips’ which, due to the rough approach sounds a lot younger. But if you listen to the subject matter of these tracks you’ll hear that the choice of a clean or rough sound fits the nature of the lyrics. Each songs sets the atmosphere of the story before lyrics even come into play. The clever bastards have used the variation of sound as another storytelling element in such a subtle yet genius way and you can’t help but want to deeply analysis each individual song. I tip my hat off to them
This technique does come at a cost however… As an album, it’s not particularly consistent.
Recently I sat down with Brian Sella (interview here) to talk about the album. On the recording process he states “Writing the last album, it was very much more about trying to find the right sound and this one was more about just writing songs.”
And you can tell. Each song feels like a it’s own thing. There’s no real reoccurring theme musically throughout the album and although each song can stand on it’s own, well enough to be a single, an album full of singles can at times feel like each track is fighting for your attention and as a result no one track gets the full attention it deserves and the album suffers for that. Although thematically the album makes sense the abrupt change in tone can at some times be slightly jarring.
I’d like to note though I have no doubt this album is going to do well. In the age of Spotify, an album full of singles is the perfect playlist material; this is only solidified with the band’s talent at writing incredibly specific yet relatable songs.
Official single ‘Vacation Town’ is a particular stand out; Perfectly balancing the familiar acoustic sound with a Brass section of all things. The truly bittersweet subject matter is coupled perfectly with a mixture of both rough and clean tones that serves as a solid introduction to what you’re in for within the album, so it was definitely a well chosen single.
Overall The Front Bottoms have displayed a huge level of growth through technique while not compromising the sound that they’re adored for. I honestly can’t flaw a single song, however I just don’t see it as an album, more a collection of work and suggest that to fully enjoy Going Grey you’re best off listening to each song individually rather than tackling the whole album at once. I am a huge fan of this band and this album does make me very excited for what they do in the future.
The Front Bottoms – Going Grey tracklisting
1. You Used to Say (Holy Fuck)
2. Peace Sign
4. Vacation Town
5. Don’t Fill Up On Chips
6. Grand Finale
9. Far Drive
10. Everything But You