The Front Bottoms - The Front Bottoms
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Record Label: Bar/None Records
Reviewing The Front Bottoms’ debut full-length is sort of an awkward situation. I already said so much about this band in a review of their first EP, Slow Dance to Soft Rock. This self-titled full-length, the group’s first release on Bar/None Records, features the six songs we already heard on that first EP, plus six brand new tracks.
The good news is, the six new songs are just like the old ones in one very important way: they’re all good. Brian Sella continues his travels through lyrics that only really make sense to him, but are still fun as hell to sing along to for the rest of us. Take the story on “Mountain” as an example: “I bought fireworks / A big bag in Pennsylvania / I’m gonna light ‘em up when I get home to Jersey,” Sella croons. When he continues, “They’ll probably arrest me / They’ll probably ruin my whole summer,” you can feel that his summer would be ruined, but he doesn’t really seem to care. One line later, Sella gives us this gem: “Stop taking pictures with your phone.” And that might just make listeners laugh – but who isn’t singing along?
Opener “Flashlight” is another standout among the new tracks, playing more into what could be considered the band’s core sound – Sella and drummer Matt Uychich play aggressive and hard, but they play instruments that aren’t really that loud, so they come across as both fun/indie and punk. The indie/acoustic shtick is one that most likely anyone will be able to get behind, and even when things get a little weird, like on closer “Hooped Earrings,” The Front Bottoms are still accessible enough to keep the interest of even the most easily distracted.
The previously released tracks play well with others in a full-length setting, which is no surprise. “Maps” and “The Beers” are still the biggest triumphs here, and the new recording/production does major favors to each. It might be viewed as a negative thing to say so early in a young band’s career, but I assure the New Jersey natives that I mean no disrespect when I say they may never write a song better than “The Beers.” I’m sure they might be sick of it already, since such can be the case with that one song that people like most (like, how much can Tigers Jaw still get amped on “I Saw Water?”), but that song will be returned to for as long as I like music like this.
The Front Bottoms basically gives old fans a new EP and better-produced versions of songs on an old EP, while introducing the group to soon-to-be converted fans. And maybe I’m easily satisfied, but I’m okay with this. The Front Bottoms may have doubled the length of their catalog with this release, but their significance as they make more noise away from the confines of Bergen County is growing exponentially.
Inevitably people will wonder why this is scored lower than the EP - it's really just a shift in how I'm scoring records, I guess. This is an improvement on the EP, the songs from that EP sound better, and the new songs are rad.
gonna pre-order this as soon as i get my balance and composure poster from no sleep. so stoked. this will probably be one of my best records of the year, even if it's just for the Slow Dance to Soft Rock songs.
I personally like the ridiculous lyrics. They're more meant to evoke a feeling than focus on a specific thing he's saying, in my opinion. I can see how some would dislike them though. Also, I find the vocals charming. I'm greatly looking forward to this.
I actually really enjoy the weird vocals and simple beats it stands out among the millions of other bands out there that sound alike. However the lyrics in the new songs that I've heard so far seemed a bit simple. IDK SDtSR grabbed me so much better.