Album Review: The Front Bottoms, ‘Talon of the Hawk’

lauren stern has an eagle eye for good music …

frontbottoms

After gaining a following by performing all over the Garden State for about five years, The Front Bottoms finally reached their peak with the release of their second self-titled album in 2011. Since that fateful September, The Front Bottoms (Brian Sella and Mathew Uychich) have been extremely busy touring around the US and the world — opening up for big acts like Say Anything and Motion City Soundtrack. But thankfully, the boys also spent this time writing new music, and it’s here compiled in a 12-track album titled Talon of the Hawk.

TFB2_by_Mark_Jaworski

Talon of the Hawk functions much like their previous self-titled releases. Sella’s voice still encompasses the same strong, condescending tone from the past and his lyrics are still very much about being young, dumb, and stung. Uychich takes the backseat per usual; participating in the duo’s infamous gang style vocals whilst accompanying the melodies on the drums.

But there are a lot of new and notable differences, enhancements if you will, that set this record apart from the others. This time around we hear a lot more of bassist Tom Warren and keyboardist Ciaran O’Donnell, who really give the music the diversity needed to set them apart from that “one note act” title. O’Donnell’s keyboard and trumpeting efforts especially do not go unnoticed, refining many of the tracks including  “Santa Monica,” “Skeleton,” “Everything I Own,” and the album’s first single “Twin Size Mattress.”

Surprisingly, stylistically there were come changes too. “The Feud” and “Tattooed Tears” sounded like they belonged in a mosh pit at a punk show, which if you know the Front Bottoms, is pretty unorthodox. “Peach” and “Funny You Should Ask” were downplays on their normal tempo, which benefited them by opening the floor for more keyboards and trumpets. These were big surprises, but great in showing how much the music has grown and diversified within the realms of both folk and punk.

Talon of the Hawk was the perfect transition the band needed after their huge success over the last year and a half. It played off the same sound fans loved from before, but added some new experiments stylistically and sonically, that will help the band grow and progress into something even bigger. After hearing this album, I’m excited to see where their music will go from here and even more excited to see another well-deserved surge of success for my favorite boys from Bergen County.

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