Title Fight – Floral Green
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Record Label: SideOneDummy
Oh, Title Fight. How you always seem to surprise me. The band has weeded out the pop-punk sensibilities found on their early material only to develop into one of the most passionate emotional hardcore bands on the scene. Progressing on the slowed down sound found on Shed, Floral Green takes a heavy dose of 90's emo and mixes it into the signature Title Fight sound. What emerges is a beautiful piece of music that is one of my favorite albums of 2012 so far.
"Numb, But I Still Feel It" does a great job of picking up where Shed left off. Charging drums and distorted guitars build up anticipation, only for Ned Russin's raspy howl (which has never sounded stronger) to take charge of the track. Instantly recognizable is the improved production value of the album. The mix sounds fantastic without sounding overproduced even in the slightest bit (props to Will Yip). The track ends with a fade out of distortion and feedback and carries right into what is my favorite track on the album, "Leaf." Jamie Rhoden and Shane Moran's guitar riffs will make you bob your head and want to stop whatever it is you're doing and bust out your best two-step. With lines such as, "I'm just a single leaf in the wind blowing," Russin sets the overall theme of the album which is one of insecurity and depression. Next is the Sonic Youth-inspired "Like A Ritual" where we get our first taste of Rhoden taking the reigns vocally. I wish he was more present on Floral Green because I have grown fond of his melodic drone.
Following the full minute of distorted noise at the end of "Like A Ritual" is the most punk rock song Title Fight has ever written, "Secret Society." Taking cues from 90's emo rockers Jawbreaker, "Secret Society" is a raw, in your face anthem that will cause an abundance of pile-on's when they begin to perform it live. Right as the energy of the album is at its peak, things take a drastic turn that will leave many listeners scratching their heads. What follows is the lead single from the album, "Head in the Ceiling Fan." This track sounds like Title Fight listened to a boatload of Hum at an ungodly hour of the night and wrote a mellow jam based off what they heard. Take some time to just read the lyrics on their own as they are beautiful and extremely poetic. As the track fades out, a soft guitar riff starts the transition into "Make You Cry." The album kicks back into gear here with Russin belting out the track's depressive lyrics with Rhoden's harmonies providing a sense of overall hurt and sadness.
The following section of the album is the only thing holding Floral Green from being a legendary album. Songs such as "Sympathy" and "Calloused" seem to be a bit forgettable in comparison to other tracks on this record. This is not to imply that they are not good songs, because they sure as hell are. However, I wouldn't find myself itching to hear these songs on their own. "Frown" is the best of the three tracks in this section. Ben Russin's drumming drives the track and syncs right in with his brother's catchy bass playing.
Following the only sense of mediocrity present on this album are two tracks that blend together to form one of the most beautiful pieces of work Title Fight has ever produced. The droned-out "Lefty" switches brilliantly between slow and fast with ease. As the song slowly ends, the mellow closer of "In-Between" fades in, displaying Rhoden's almost monotone voice beautifully. One could argue that these two songs are the most advanced songs in Title Fight's entire discography. I sure wouldn't argue against that.
Although the band could have been a bit more creative with this record, Title Fight has successfully propelled themselves into the center of today's hardcore/emo scene. The obvious influence from bands Sunny Day Real Estate, Sonic Youth, Hum, and Jawbreaker combined with the band's classic hardcore sound fused together to produce their best effort to date. I love when a band takes risks for the sake of progression, and the boys from Wilkes-Barre did just that and succeeded wonderfully.
I'd like to know what you guys think about my review. It's my first one so I'm looking for comments and critique. I definitely had some trouble getting some of my thoughts into words and rambled at times, but hey, practice makes perfect.