New Jersey based indie duo The Front Bottoms rose to critical acclaim back in 2010 with their self-titled debut album, a release that provided a winning combination of both comical and emotional lyricism. 2017 sees the band entering the tenth year of their career and, along with it, the release of their sixth full-length album, ‘Going Grey’. Since signing to Fueled By Ramen in 2015, electronic elements have become a more significant part of the band’s repertoire, and ‘Going Grey’ certainly extends the band’s experimentation with their sound further than before.
With all the shining synths, dreamy guitars, and groovy percussion, it’s vocalist Brian Sella‘s blunt narrative lyricism that truly acts as the album’s hook. From reminiscing on his early twenties in ‘Vacation Town’, with lines including “I miss walking naked through the backyard to get to the outdoor shower”, to honing in on a day with anxiety and the constant questioning it holds in ‘Bae’. Sella‘s managed to strike a great balance between comical and raw on this record.
From an instrumental perspective, this is The Front Bottoms most ambitious set of songs to date. Opener, ‘You Used To Say (Holy Fuck)’, begins with a simple build before bursting into a colourful four minutes packed with some shimmering guitar lines and dancey synth melodies. ‘Grand Finale’, which incidentally isn’t the album’s closer, offers a more straightforward instrumental in comparison. However, with an infectious bass line and Sella extending his vocal range to hit some tasteful higher notes, it’s noticeably one of the catchiest songs on the record.
Despite the intricate electric guitar melodies, The Front Bottoms still manage to hark back to their roots on ‘Going Grey’; ‘Raining’, and ‘Don’t Fill Up On Chips’ in particular bare resemblance to the sound captured on 2013’s ‘Talon Of The Hawk’.
With ‘Going Grey’, The Front Bottoms have not only delivered an excellent collection of songs, but they’ve also proved that taking risks can certainly pay off. It’s an album that’s bound to intrigue long-time fans and hook brand new listeners alike.
Written by Phoebe Constable (@phoebecnstable)