The Front Bottoms - Slow Dance to Soft Rock
Release Date: June 2010
Record Label: Unsigned
Simply put, The Front Bottoms play an eager and honest brand of indie rock/punk. Slow Dance To Soft Rock is catchy and accessible but simultaneously punk as hell: This EP was recorded in a warehouse and a basement, and it sounds like it was written just for the hell of it. That isn't to say that Slow Dance to Soft Rock is careless; guitarist/vocalist Brian Sella may wildly weave through lyricism that is as subtle as a brick in the small of your back while drummer Matt Uychich blasts out sharp snare hits and crashing symbols, but it's done well.
I've commonly seen fans of the band questioning wondrously how it's possible that more people aren't paying attention to the two-piece, but it's really not a mystery. This music isn't for everyone. But the people who it is for -- people who are highly interested in the acts of belting out catchy one-liners that don't need to have a poetic, grandiose meaning -- are absolutely thrilled by it. Opener "Swimming Pool" and the song that follows it, "The Beers," are perfect examples. In the latter, Sella is singing something about an extension cord and a blacklight that is going to make him very rich over the doodle of an acoustic guitar, the melody of a piano and the frantic energy of Uychich's drumming. It doesn't particularly matter what this song is about, but it does matter that this is a fun and memorable summer tune.
During the chorus of "The Beers," which is the highlight of Slow Dance to Soft Rock, Sella cries out, "I will remember that summer / As the summer I was taking steroids / Cause you like a man with muscles / And I like you." There isn't a ton to dig into with that line, but again, I'll be damned if that isn't a brilliantly fun line to yell along to.
The musicianship, considering that only three people recorded this EP, is erratic. The creativity is impressive: On top of your normal piano, guitars, and drums, you get horns on one track and a violin on another. The violin is presented on "Maps," perhaps the single track that could launch this band to another level. I can't imagine many an angsty youth who wouldn't want to sing along when Sella muses, "One day you'll be washing yourself with hand soap in a public bathroom / And you'll be thinking, 'How did I get here? / Where the hell am I?'" The lyrics aren't as relatable as they are transparently clever and amusing.
Slow Dance to Soft Rock is the cliché change of pace from the norm. It's a refreshing listen compared to your normal stable of pop-punk and emo. Hopefully this band can muster up enough attention one day to embark on a proper tour, and maybe even work their way into a long-lasting career; it would be a shame to see this type of clever songwriting go unnoticed by the masses.