The Front Bottoms – ‘Talon of the Hawk’

The Front Bottoms return with ‘Talon of the Hawk’, their dynamic follow up to their acclaimed 2012 self-titled release! Look for the album everywhere May 21st on Bar/None Records.

Hannah Cook

8
out of 10

The Front Bottoms
Talon of the Hawk
May 21st, 2013
Bar None Records

Brian Sella and Matt Uychich of The Front Bottoms escaped from mundane normalcy when they ditched their stable lives in New Jersey and took to the road some years ago. Now, it is that very normalcy, in all its glory and then not so much, that fuels their songwriting. The everyday conundrum, if you will, realized into clever, catchy punk rock–simple and honest.

It’s easy for bands to do the whole “we’re gonna be a band and tour” thing wrong. Maybe they take themselves too seriously; maybe they try too hard or maybe not hard enough. Maybe they do nothing about that inevitable barrier between artist and audience. The Front Bottoms did it all very, very right though–the proof lying in their dedicated fan base and sold-out performances.

Actually, performance is a bad word, because what is so special about The Front Bottoms is that they include you in what they do. They don’t play music for you as much as they play music with you because doing it any other way would discredit the essence of their music.

The Front Bottoms’ 2011 self-titled debut after joining Bar/None Records was young at heart, with proclamations in repetitive sing-alongs and steady guitar-drum combinations. The lyrics, albeit transparent, were never mistaken for any kind of feeblemindedness. In fact, they were wise in their youthful approach.

Two years later, the band’s upcoming release, Talon of the Hawk, resonates like The Front Bottoms we know and love, but some growing up has definitely occurred: the production quality is better, the lyrics more clever and the musicianship clearer and more experimental. It is the sound of a band that is coming closer and closer to knowing exactly what it’s doing and what it wants, even if Sella may sing otherwise.

Front BottomsThe album begins with a brief smart-aleck standoff in “Au Revoir (Adios).” In order to keep up with the cultural trend, a French-esque light-hearted accordian quivers behind Sella’s pretentious words: “Au revoir, au revoir, you prolly don’t even know what that means” and later, “rock ‘n’ roll, rock ‘n’ roll, you prolly don’t understand what I mean.” Alas, whoever Sella is singing does know what it means as she throws “adios” right back in his face. Ha.

From then on out, the album follows a few different paths: sometimes sad, sometimes funny, sometimes angry, sometimes everything all at once, but always earnest.

Like in “Skeleton,” when Sella sings in circles about being too stoned and falling asleep in the front seat, but more importantly he addresses the pain of feeling too much about one person. Or in the album single “Twin Size Mattress,” which, if nothing else, must be a struggling compliance with the lifestyle Sella and Uychich have chosen, it being a lifestyle prone to fleeting relationships.

The Front Bottoms would probably not be considered poetic by many people’s standards. They don’t use complicated metaphors or fanciful language that is difficult to dissect. You don’t need Spark Notes to make more sense of what they’re saying and it’s absolutely not a bad thing. All of that is exhausting anyway.  Words come to Sella like words come to us in conversations with our best friends and those are the kinds of words that people latch onto, making everything that The Front Bottoms are doing that much more exciting.

The band is currently on a European tour but will return home for their first ever US headlining tour where they’ll be joined by Weatherbox & A Great Big Pile Of Leaves. The band will be making their third appearance in TheBlueIndian.com’s hometown of Macon, Georgia on July 27th as part of the 13th annual Bragg Jam Music, Arts, and Community Festival.