Arising from the under-current of the pop-punk revolution overthrowing music currently, The Front Bottoms despite their giggle-inducing name have amassed a cult following after touring with the likes of Motion City Soundtrack and Say Anything, smashing every venue they manage to get into. Packed to the brim with simplicity, giggles and passion, their debut album Talon of the Hawk sets their musical career off on an all time high and proves that it doesn’t take intricacy and technicality to make a solid release.
Quirky first track Adios (Au Revoir) incorporates a simple yet infectious chorus with happy-go-lucky with a sly undertone with a almost blink and you’ll miss it interlude of an accordion, adding to the European element of this song, it all ties together beautifully, and more importantly, originally with the surge of pop-punk bands jumping out of the closet, this one is a little bit different, and it works wonders.
Second track Skeleton has the same head-bopping qualities which can make it fall short and seem similar to the climactic opening track, but the sharp, summery synth brings this song to the forefront, and on repeated listening it is a slow grower as its hidden qualities slowly become apparent: the simple, shoutable and relatable lyrics means this, like other songs, lurk beneath a sunny almost euro-pop exterior.
Twin Size Mattress totally breaks away from this sunny-side-up attitude, creating a raw behemoth of a track hidden beneath the light exterior. It slowly reaches a spine-tingling crescendo, throughout it builds up using simple chords with razor-sharp vocals and atmospheric drum beats, gang vocals bounce you out of your easy-listening and random instruments breaking the soft melody such as tambourines, when prompted by the lyrics to do so. You would expect this track to be a closing track, yet hiding it in the middle of the album in ways makes the emotional impact hit home harder, it’s something different in what could be construed as a generic mix, if it was not for minor differences such as this.
Much like this, Lone Star could almost be a tearjerker if the lyrics painted a visible picture. The lyrics tell the story of a pregnancy scare and a terrified and confused boyfriend, whether this be a true story or not it shows this band has substance rather than the generic friends and ex-lovers bull that many pop-punk bands cling to now, the music in this song may be simplistic but lyrically, it is an utterly poetic and moving song. A song that has, not only made me adore this band, but respect them immensely.
Closing song Everything I Own has a similar heartfelt feel as Lone Star and Twin Size Mattress, but with a positive edge and not a sombre tone as seen in these two songs. It almost bumbles along, it has such a jolly feel, there is no other word really, it a perfect high and slightly silly ending which suits this band down to a tee, whilst also showing maturity in adult and tormented lyrics.
I was impressed by this album immensely, to be fair I didn’t really know what to expect from it: Would it fall short or would it exceed all expectations? Another generic pop punk band or something out of this world? To me they hit just the right balance of doing something a little more out there without being so “out there” that it’s harsh on the ears. They combined beautiful lyrics with a simplistic musical assortment to really accentuate their true meaning, without flashing it in everyone’s faces. They maintain a happy-go-lucky attitude with substance to show that this band are in it for far more than what many jumping on the pop-punk band wagon are, and for that, I salute them.