The Front Bottoms
Going Grey


3.5
great

Review

by Ben USER (12 Reviews)
October 14th, 2017 | 52 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tactlessly tacky tunes

The Front Bottoms make music that trips and stumbles. Their instrumentals typically stagger and wobble, laced with Brian Sella’s fumbling vocals leaking streams of consciousness – uninhibited tales of bludgeoning fathers, afternoon piss-ups and swimming-pool-escapism aplenty. The resultantly awkward, uneasy aesthetic has been a constant throughout the band’s work, the stubborn charm underlying all of its stylistic iterations. It’s this ‘human’ spark that makes their silly, sappy projects work, and thankfully it finds its way into Going Grey.

Although this TFB keystone is maintained, things aren’t quite as sporadic this time around. Whilst still a peppy pop(-punk) project, it’s a more mature and grounded effort. Softer textures dominate, following ‘Back on Top’ in replacing the clanging acoustic twangs of their earlier works with smoother electric tones and cutesy, bobbing keys (see: ‘Trampoline’). Whilst consequently not as energetic as its older counterparts, the record is as characterful as ever and pleasantly laid back. Case in point, the warm ‘Don’t Fill Up On Chips’ practically begs the listener to crack open a beer, pull up a chair and take a breather. ‘Bae’ similarly sways before sliding into the raucous chorus with a hook that promises to stick around in the listener’s mind for days. ‘Vacation Town’ follows suit, reminiscing about a better time as horns swell over reserved acoustic passages, a soft pulse beating beneath the surface.

The prevalent dreamy vibe is quite the departure from the band’s frantic s/t days, yet the quirky TPB ‘spark’ is still kept alight. Fervent cut ‘Far Drive’ switches things up with pizzazz and bravado, a driving drumbeat and optimistic guitars bursting through the previously cushy veneer. Characteristically zany lyrical nuggets are also found scattered across the project; “Holy ***, I’m about to die” in particular is utterly TFB, lazily drawled out in the opening track as the instrumental bleeds synthetic rainbows. It’s one of many borderline cringey moments on the record, but it’s hard not to smile when each oozes the off-kilter personality of the band that fans have come to love.

In the end, Going Grey leaves me scratching my head a little. In quite an oxymoronic fashion, it’s both as far from and as close to their roots as they’ve ever been, aesthetically worlds apart but tethered tightly to them in spirit. At times it can feel a little tacky and a tad too derivative, and admittedly I still can’t help but miss their manic ‘s/t’ days, but at its core this is a welcome addition to TFB's catalogue. It’s simply a couple of mates playing some chill tunes and being themselves, which is neat.



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user ratings (59)
Chart.
3
good
other reviews of this album
preston (2.5)
Making an adventure out of mediocrity....



Comments:Add a Comment 
AsleepInTheBack
October 14th 2017


5119 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This inspired me to do a little write up. c/c welcome.

GreyShadow
October 14th 2017


1842 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review. That last paragraph is on point

clavier
October 14th 2017


455 Comments


excellent writing as always, ben

BlushfulHippocrene
October 14th 2017


2015 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I adore this review, Ben, and agree with it wholeheartedly.

'Cause I feel absolute fantastic, / to fall asleep would take some magic

Digging: Julien Baker - Turn Out The Lights

AsleepInTheBack
October 14th 2017


5119 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers guys, appreciate it (:

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
October 14th 2017


1877 Comments


i think "whist" in the second paragraph should be "Whilst"?
fantastic otherwise ben. no surprises there.

BlushfulHippocrene
October 14th 2017


2015 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I gotta move my car, I gotta move your couch

I learnt that love tastes good, you shoved it in my mouth


ianblxdsoe
October 14th 2017


1349 Comments


congrats on the feature, not really feeling this album at all unfortunately :/ hard pos though man!

onionbubs
October 14th 2017


6800 Comments


i honestly don't even know if i'm going to listen to this. s/t goes hard tho

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

GreyShadow
October 15th 2017


1842 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like this for what it is but album needs more rock and roll. Far Drive does a good job at filling that roll but I need more

BlushfulHippocrene
October 15th 2017


2015 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'd be interested to see where the band go from here. Part of me feels as though the band won't return to this sound, but it'd be interesting to see a further synthesis with the sound of their older material.

GreyShadow
October 15th 2017


1842 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I feel like it will be similar to this. I'd rather them try to build more off of Back On Top since that seems a bit more realistic than asking for another s/t or Talon/something more raw.





AsleepInTheBack
October 15th 2017


5119 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks so much for the feature kind overlords

Cheers guys :heart:

Nice pick up too jack. And big shoutout to blush for some post-upload edits.

tbh I'm content which this stylistic shift, even though I'm sure some will despise it. I dont think we're ever going to get another s/t, but I think if they tried it again it'd just sound forced, so probably best they don't

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2017


22700 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very nicely done review! (Though u didn't mention the 2 best tracks ;)

Digging: Langhorne Slim - Lost At Last, Vol 1

oisincoleman64
October 15th 2017


2119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Raining is still the best track on here

AsleepInTheBack
October 15th 2017


5119 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers Atari



Yeah I wish I found the space to dig into Raining and Peace Sign, but didn't want to make this thing too bloated. Tbh, each track has enough interesting stuff going on in them to warrant discussion

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2017


22700 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nah u did great, well-deserved feature. Was struggling to put my thoughts into words on this one

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
October 15th 2017


19697 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

hey fantastic review asleep, especially loved the first two paras (those descriptions mmm)

you do a very good job at explaining what the album sounds like but I just don't vibe with the synthy / pop rooted path they've taken on this one unfortunately ):

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
October 15th 2017


19697 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

also Raining, Peace Sign, and Oceans are all amazing, rest is somewhat forgettable idk

AsleepInTheBack
October 15th 2017


5119 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers con, ly.

And yeah I get it, you're either going to love or hate the aesthetic; no amount of charisma from the band is going to remedy that



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