Title Fight – Shed
Record Label: Side One Dummy Records
Release Date: May 3rd, 2011
I have rather funny stories about how I got into certain bands, and I don’t mean “ha-ha” funny, I mean ironic or coincidental stories; this one happens to be about PA melodic-hardcore/pop-punk band Title Fight. You see, about two years ago, before releasing debut full length Shed, they had a free song entitled “Flood of ‘72” for download on iTunes as a single of the week or something like that. I was barely getting into pop-punk more at the time, and I remember reading about these guys in Alternative Press Magazine (back when it was awesome), so I decided to download the track and see what I thought of it. I don’t know why, but it didn’t stick with me, but I did enjoy it. I just didn’t enjoy enough to actively listen to the band. Fast forward to the year of the year, and I decided to give them another chance after reading about them again somewhere. I listened to Shed online and fell in love, but I put the album aside after awhile because I had other things to check out. Well, fast forward again to the end of 2012, and I was in a local FYE store and saw a physical copy of the record, and I wanted that as a last minute Christmas gift. Well, sure enough, I got it for Christmas, and since then, I’ve been listening to this record almost every day. These guys have gotten a lot of hype for plenty of reasons, and last year’s Floral Green was definitely worth the hype. That record was absolutely wonderful, but it was lacking something, and that something was that aggression that Shed had. Don’t get me wrong, Floral Green is a great record, but it was bit more melodic and had some really interesting influences, like ambience and shoe-gaze. It was a lot more “chill,” to say the least. It had its aggressive moments, but they were going in a new direction, which worked very well. What makes Shed so great is that it’s short, and to the point, but it also leaves a lasting impression as well.
The record begins with “Coxton Yard,” which is a minute and a half long song, as are most of the songs on here. Bassist and primary vocalist Ned Russin immediately kicks things off with a bang. He doesn’t take a breath and nor does the rest of the band ever. I like Ned’s vocals; they’re raspy, and I can actually understand what he’s saying. They remind me of fellow hardcore/pop-punk band Such Gold. One of the main problems I have with this album is really how short it is. It’s very straightforward, with a few twists and turns here and there, but it’s quite short. If you’re not careful, you can miss a few songs because most of the songs are on here are under 2 minutes. The next track “Shed,” which is the title track, is one of my favorites on the record. It begins with a very interesting guitar riff by guitarists Jamie Rhoden and Shane Moran, against Ned’s raspy harsh vocals. His delivery here is fantastic, honestly; it’s so passionate and emotional, I love it. That’s one thing I love about this record – the passion and the emotion that every member puts into the music. Despite the record being rather short, there’s certainly a lot of emotion and meaning here. Lyrically speaking as well, the lyrics are great.
Remember how I mentioned that Floral Green had a lot of very “chill” moments? Well, this record has a few, too, and those are great as well. There’s a lot of aggression on here, but there are a few moments that compliment it by slowing things down ever so slightly. In fact, third song “Flood of ‘72” is a song that does have one of these “chill” moments in them; the song starts off rather aggressively, but with the last thirty seconds or so, it slows down immensely. It sounds really cool, honestly. Fourth track “Society” seems to follow these trend, too; this is one of the “slower” songs and more memorable songs on the record. Sadly, though, it’s less a minute and a half long, so it ends right after it begins. Strangely enough, it seems the shortest songs on the first half of the record, because sixth track “Crescent-Shaped Depression” is about 3 minutes. While that song isn’t too interesting, the next track “Safe In Your Skin” is one of the more “chill” moments. It takes “Society” and turns it on its head; this is a very nice interlude, so to speak. It’s got some very ambient instrumentals and is very relaxing, and some vocals come in around the last minute or so that don’t feel out of place, really.
The next couple tracks don’t really do anything for me, but are quite fantastic tracks, nonetheless. They have a very unique sound in general, so this whole record is certainly something to marvel at. While the next two tracks don’t do much for me, tenth and eleventh tracks “27” and “Stab” come in the form of a one-two punch; the former is a rather aggressive track that really sticks out to me, and it’s probably the way Ned’s vocals are here. He just screams them out with such passion and intensity that it works so well. The latter is kind of the same way, in the sense that both tracks have very memorable lyrics and instrumentation that solidifies that. Last track “GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)” is another one of those tracks that doesn’t do much for me. It does combine both the aggressive and ambient stuff into one song, also while being the longest song at over three and a half minutes.
To sum it all up, this is a wonderful record; if you’re really into pop-punk and hardcore, this is band you’re missing out on. Shed may only be about 27 minutes, but it’s a very entertaining 27 minutes at that. The only couple of criticisms I have with this record are the length, and the fact that a lot of the songs don’t really do anything for me. It’s not that they’re awful, but just because they sound like a song elsewhere on the record. The length isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it’s not too long, but it does seem to be go rather quick. If you’re not careful, you can miss full songs, because they’re less than 3 minutes. Regardless, though, this is a record worth picking up if you’re into pop-punk/hardcore. This is a band that really took me by surprise, but I’m glad they did.