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Review: The Front Bottoms, 'Talon of the Hawk'

The Front Bottoms Talon of the Hawk

The indie/folk/emo/punk/whatever-the-hell-you-wanna-call-them group from Bergen County, New Jersey simply known as The Front Bottoms have become one of the scene's most buzzworthy acts since the release of their self-titled album back in 2011. Tours with bands such as Say Anything, Motion City Soundtrack and Matt Pryor of The Get Up Kids helped fuel the intrigue for the band led by vocalist Brian Sella and drummer Mathew Uychich.

If you take a look at what the average fan of The Front Bottoms listens to, you'll find a wide range of acts from Bon Iver to Something Corporate in their music library. The outfit's sound falls somewhere in the middle with Brian's heart-tugging lyrics amalgamated with some piano/synth driven rock that would make you want to move your feet. Speaking of lyrics, TFB's words have found their way onto every social media outlet imaginable. You may have seen the lyrics for "Swimming Pool" or "Bathtub" slapped onto nauseating photos of Drake on Tumblr.  It's kind of hard to believe that NJ duo never worked with any producer before Talon of the Hawk, which, unlike their last album, is full of brand new material. For the new full-length, the band recruited Grammy-nominated producer Chris "Frenchie" Smith (The Toadies, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Built To Spill). With his incredible resume, it was pretty obvious that Frenchie was the right man for the job.

Normally, you don't kick off a record by saying goodbye (or in this case, Au Revoir or Adios). Well, The Front Bottoms did just that with the opening track "Au Revoir (Adios)". Opening with the lines "You know what I think is really sad?, I know how really sad you are", the song only gets better with it's blissful accordion section. "I Swear To God The Devil Made Me Do It" greets the listener with a smoldering, distorted bass line before finding Brian trying to escape his bad habits by (obviously) blaming the Devil. The first official single from the album "Twin Size Mattress" reads like a thank you letter to all of the ups and downs the band has encountered over the years. "Peach" is a love number chock-full of comparison driven lyrics ("You are my peach, you are my plum, you are my earth, you are my sun") that lead up to a swaying chorus ( "You are the reason I'm smiling when there's nothing to smile about") connected by a delicate synth section. The Front Bottoms take a page from country punk band Lucero with the cut "Lone Star". The song opens with deep bass lines and twangy licks before Brian proclaims "Goodbye future, one so bright, meet my pregnant girlfriend". Just based off the first line, the melancholy nature of the song is very obvious with its worrisome chorus  ("Hey, Brian. If you still believe in the Lord above, get on your hands and knees and pray for us").

To say Talon of the Hawk is a highly anticipated LP is a complete understatement. This is the kind of record that the indie-punk scene needs right now. Hell, this is the kind of album that could touch anyone regardless of whatever music scene they claim. The Front Bottoms easily managed to top their self-titled effort and then some. In 10 years, it wouldn't be surprising to see this work highly regarded in the same level as Saves The Day's Stay What You Are or Brand New's Deja Entendu.

(Terrance Pryor)


Go Download : "Peach"

Release Date: May 21, 2013


01. Au Revoir (Adios)
02. Skeleton
03. I Swear To God The Devil Made Me Do It
04. Twin Size Mattress
05. Peach
06. Santa Monica
07. The Feud
08. Funny You Should Ask
09. Tattooed Tears
10. Lone Star
11. Backflip
12. Everything I Own