The Front Bottoms - Rose EP
Record Label: BarNone Records
Release Date: June 17, 2014
There's certain bands that you just can't shake off. Bands who create songs that, no matter what mood you're in, no matter what's happened in your day, you can listen to and be transferred to a place far away from where you stand. The Front Bottoms are one of those bands. With their simple yet increasingly more epic indie-folk-pop-punk-emo anthems, they've managed to create the perfect emotion that is rarely experienced outside of watching Wes Anderson films and reading the Perks Of Being A Wallflower. This somehow joyous and happy yet subtly tragically sad emotion which is wrapped up in a cover of unromantic quirkiness is ever present in the band's new EP, Rose. The first of a series of EPs dedicated to the duo's grandmothers, the Rose EP is a collection of old fan favourites , as well as a new track in the form of closer "Awkward Conversations". As per usual with The Front Bottoms, the Rose EP is a selection of songs discussing lost loves and growing up all through the medium of Brian Sella's distinct vocals and lyrics that understand you a lot better than your ex boyfriend/girlfriend ever did.
For the most part, it's easy to hear that many of these tracks were written previous to works such as Talon Of The Hawk - not because they're not excellent, but due to the wide-eyed, youthful lyrics throughout the EP. Where Sella has grown up with his lyricism quite a lot in the last couple of releases, the Rose EP is filled wit h earnest love songs such as "Jim Bogart" and "12 Feet Deep". Whilst regression isn't typically a positive thing, on the Rose EP hearing Sella at his most genuine and overwrought is incredibly endearing. "Jim Bogart" is an acoustic anthem for anyone who's ever found themselves wanting to be the very best for someone who just isn't interested. The juxtaposition of his enthusiastic promises to his beloved and the life he would lead if he could have her with the defeated resignation of 'Sometimes things just don't work out' is perfectly simple and makes Sella feel like an enthusiastic stray puppy being ignored by the family he's decided to follow home. It's heartbreakingly easy to relate to and with the upbeat, hopeful ending, the song basically makes everything seem a little less shit.
The Front Bottoms just have a knack for simple lines which resonate heavily with the listener. Be it opener "Flying Model Rockets"' 'There's nothing in California that you could not learn to hate here' or "12 Feet Deep"'s 'Since when did 'I wanna hear your voice' not become a good excuse, call you 3 in the morning and laugh at sleep that we'll both lose?", perfectly capture the feelings experienced when you can feel love slipping out of your hands. The band often receive criticism for the fact their lyrics are 'silly' or 'overly simple', yet whilst pretty words and metaphors may sound nice on the ear, The Front Bottoms' music doesn't want to be pretty on the ear, it wants to talk about its shitty day at school and tell you why the girl its in love with doesn't care anymore and about how its scared of the future and yet regrets the past. Pretty things are pretty, but they're just not real life and that's why the Rose EP is one of the biggest (and best) bags of emotion you'll hear all year.
Of course, we should focus in a little on "Awkward Conversations", the only new material on the release. A completely stripped back, acoustic track, it tells familiar tales of love. If Talon Of The Hawk may have seemed a little too cynical at points, "Awkward Conversations" strikes the perfect balance between the early earnestness and more recent cynicism. Lyrics such as "we have these parties for the way it was but when the booze is gone, is it worth the buzz?" are among the best that the band has crafted and the chorus "I personally think it's too cold to have the windows open but you want to smoke your menthol cigarettes" is as memmorable and catchy as it is unlikely as a chorus. If "Awkward Conversations" is a sign of things to come, The Front Bottoms are going to get better and better.
So, yeah, I'm gushing about another release from The Front Bottoms. However, there's reason for that as The Front Bottoms are a special band. They have the emotional dynamics of the emo movement without the occasional lack of realism and over-frailty that can come with it. They have the energy and youthfulness of the pop punk movement without the fads and the saccharine qualities that can come with it. They have the intelligence and musical tightness of the indie movement but with the pretense and assholery that can come with it. If you want a set of songs that will carve a hole in your heart and nestle up for the summer, Rose EP is the perfect choice. Another job well done, boys.