The Front Bottoms have released their fifth album – Back On Top. As the title suggests they are back to their peak of brilliance after a two year wait since last album, Talon Of The Hawk. Over the past four albums The Front Bottoms have time and time again released upbeat sing-a-along tracks. Witty lyrics combined with sharp guitar riffs and a drum beat based tracks.
Back On Top starts with Motorcycle, the New Jersey four piece once again playing wonderfully constructed storytelling style tracks. The style of music is recognisable, the New Jersey vocal twang is still present, but there is something more to Back On Top than in previous releases.
Summer Shandy gives a happy, summery, chilled out vibe – similarly present in The track sounds more ‘mature’ than previously, however you can still clearly hear the boyish charm of Brian Sella. This continues into the introduction of track three, Cough It Out, before quick spoken lyrics accompany a typical Front Bottoms instrumentation.
HELP, track four of Back On Top, echoes the sound of their self titled 2011 album. For me it is the highlight of the strong album. Sella’s vocals are magnificent and the hooks will have you air guitaring subtly as you listen. Laugh Till I Cry mentions the use of cars and motorcycles. This combined with opening track Motorcycle gives the impression that Back On Top is a journey with The Front Bottoms and by the end of the record you’ll certainly feel that way.
Historic Cemetery references “getting high and hanging out” – The Front Bottoms sound makes you feel that that’s exactly what you should be doing whilst listening to them. Sella’s vocal is full of sorrow and seemingly apologetic. This drainy sound continues into The Plan (Fuck Jobs). The instrumentation is blended perfectly, using each instrument wisely and not overloading the ear with unnecessary sounds.
Penultimate track West Virginia starts with a morbid ambiance of slow strumming over the sound of raindrops. As the drainy vocals glide over the combination, the track picks up into a Front Bottoms-esque signature sound. Plastic Flowers starts again with a morbid energy, likewise to West Virginia it picks up to the drum based sound that is so familiar throughout Back On Top.
Metaphors are used heavily throughout Back On Top, if you knew of The Front Bottoms before the new records you’ll be relieved to know that the style is very similar. I’d say Back On Top is most similar to Rose EP and Talon Of The Hawk, but the sound is diving deep into the roots of the band.