Album Review – The Front Bottoms (Self-Titled)

by Ed Magdziak • August 31, 2011 • MusicComments (0)3333


“Flashlight,” the opening song on New Jersey’s Front Bottoms impressive self-titled debut album, starts like many an opening track on countless albums past.  An acoustic guitar is strummed for a few seconds before he music kicks in.  Once it does here, we are off on one of the most unique albums I have heard in a while.  The opening lyric let’s you know what you’re in for; “Please fall asleep so I could take pictures of you and hang them in my room/ so when I wake up feel like yeah everything is all right.”   Lead singer and guitarist Brian Sella sings these words with the kind of desperation that you have at the age where things are starting to get serious.

Songs about hanging out, drinking and girls can get tiresome.  However, the songs here have a dark edge to them that lift them to a higher place.  In “Mountain” Brian sings “I love your eyes the way they look when you’re uncomfortable.”  Scary stuff but sung with such glee you can’t help but get swept in.  In “Swimming Pool” I am reminded of that famous scene in “The Graduate” when Dustin Hoffman sits at the bottom of a pool, a recent aimless college graduate unsure of his future.  In the song the protagonist sings “I’ve been around long enough now / To know that the good things never last / They never last”, wise beyond his years.  And on the excellent “Father” the singer imagines beating his dad with a baseball bat and tries to find comfort with his girlfriend.

Despite all the darker tones this is actually a fun listen.  You will be singing along to “Maps” and “The Beers” before you know it.  The thing that holds the album together is Mathew Uychich’s frantic and ferocious drumming.  Listen to “Flashlight” or “Looking Like You Just Woke Up.”  Sounds like he is taking out some aggression on those poor drums.  Matt’s anxious backing vocals, especially sung at the same time as Brian’s, could be the  unconscious voice of the singer’s mind.   Musically I am reminded of the Violent Femmes, another band with fun songs but with a sinister twist.  On Legit Tattoo Gun, Sella sings “My head has thoughts / What a ridiculous place to start.”  Keep those thoughts coming.  In fact, I am looking forward to more of them.

The Front Bottoms will be released on September 6th on Bar/None Records.  You can order at Bar/None or Amazon.

You can also see them live at Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ on September 17th at 3:00 PM.


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