So, I picked up Talon of the Hawk by The Front Bottoms when I swung by the record store today. I really hate describing things as sounding like “indie rock,” but that phrase certainly has a meaning to it at this point, and The Front Bottoms fit it pretty well. Or at least “Maps (embedded above)” did, which had me thinking I’d pick up their new full length and see what the rest of it sounded like.
After having listened to Talon of the Hawk, I would take back at least a bit of the “indie rock” description and replace it with something a bit more concrete. Their new album sounds a lot like what I think Blink 182 would sound like if they came about now instead of half a lifetime ago. A weak, too low-tempo for my liking pop punk.
Both the lyrics and vocals, from “Au Revoir (Adios)” to “Everything I Own” sound with the kind of anger that comes from heartbreak, the kind tinged with joy and excitement at feeling something other than a sinking feeling in your chest.
But when the lyrics aren’t being clever, we get gems like “I got so stoned/ I fell asleep in the front seat,” which may have seemed profound at the time but just make me roll my eyes.
I’d talk more about the percussion, guitars, and occasional synths/keys, but the fact is that they come across as serviceable. And that’s not a complaint, but it does mean that I didn’t feel like there was anything new or extraordinary going on.
Because I love my local record store and believe in giving bands a chance, sometimes I go out and buy an album based on a song or two, even if the songs aren’t on the album. Albums like Talon of the Hawk aren’t going to stop me from doing that, but I don’t know if I’ll be giving The Front Bottoms the benefit of the doubt in the future.