Review Summary: You hated The Front Bottoms, made fun of them, and didn't understand why I loved them so much. That is a very good point to be made if I'm being fair. Why does anyone like the front bottoms...It's a perfectly good question.
The Front Bottoms represent that child inside all of us that is screaming in rebellion for someone's attention, love, and company. That's an immature notion you may be saying, however, The Front Bottoms, is an immature band for immature people and they don't care who knows it.
The manic nature of Brian's vocal match well with the upbeat and dancey music they play. Matt Uyich and Brian are the founding members of the band. They started the band covering songs at their local junior high and self-released a few albums and EP's until getting signed to Topshelf where they made their best album, The Front Bottoms.
However, we are here to talk about Talon of The Hawk, the album when they moved to Bar/None. The Front Bottoms wrote very folky and minimalistic songs up until this point. With Talon of The Hawk, the band took on a more a bigger sound more in line with Pop Punk or Alternative Rock. Was this a good move for The Front Bottoms" Honestly, I believe it was.
They didn't fully reinvent themselves or anything with Talon of The Hawk. If you hated their singer, their sound, their woe as me or sorry for yourself lyrics. This wasn't exactly gonna change your mind at all. What they did succeed in doing however was adding a fresh coat of paint onto an already stellar paint job.
Now onto our feature presentation: Talon of The Hawk.
Right away we are greeted with the quirky lyrics and enigmatic vocals of Brian Sella who sounds a lot like Tom Delonge if he even remotely cared anymore. However, what Brian makes up for in lack of skill subtly he makes for plenty with heart. Brian wails his heart about breakups, emotional instability, abortion, self-pity, depression, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and nostalgia.
Talon of The Hawk is the soundtrack to the break up you may have never experienced but Brian sure as hell did or at least the character Brian is portraying did. "Au Revoir (Adios)" starts the album with a really weird mood. Brian tells this girl she doesn't know what he means when he says "goodbye" implying a social disconnect. He directly says she doesn't and understand him and she's not listening when he says adios. It's a pretty simple song, kind of quirky and funny. It's a nice opener.
We follow that with the energetic and frankly pretty ridiculous "Skeleton" which shows us how aimless Brian is feeling and how he wonders around looking to get into trouble but just ends up getting stoned off his ass instead. Most people would take this opportunity to reflect, which Brian does, in his own Brian sort of way. He imagines himself driving up next to this person at a stoplight where she's talking to someone showing that they're communicating in a healthy normal way. Brian proceeds to tell us how stoned he is and how he wants to reunite. Pretty strong sentiment as Brian once again tells us he is stoned. Really Brian...I had no idea.
Remember how I said not every song is perfect...well..."Swear To God The Devil Made Me Do It" is a pretty boring song all things considered. The lyrics are really esoteric like a lot of their lyrics, however, the song shows us the new direction the album takes on introducing us to some electric guitar and some building upon a previous chorus where Brian gets louder and louder. Then we are onto the band's most popular and well-written song.
"Twin Size Matress" there's a reason this is almost always a closer for their live sets. It's BADASS. Brian talks to an old friend in this song, deconstructing how they were raised with religion and asking the parents what did they expect...when they closed their eyes and prayed you would change. His friend deciding to run away from either rehab or some kind of religious indoctrination program. It's not made clear or told to us directly. Brian's friend tells him he loves him but there's "no ***ing way" he's staying around.
Brian keeps telling he would bring his friend away with him on tour and he could even play tambourine for them to give him some kind of meaning, but it's not enough. Brian spends the rest of the time reflecting upon how much of an asshole his friend became. As he punched Brian in the face one night when they were all drunk and swimming in a lake. As all songs by The Front Bottoms tend to do at the very last minute they switch to talking about something that has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the song "SHE HOPES I AM CURSED FOREVER TO SLEEP ON A TWIN SIZED MATTRESS" but lets be honest with ourselves that's the very best part of the album.
Once upon a time, "Peach" was a well-liked okay love song. Then it became one of those songs teenage girls' gravitated towards and covered to death on Youtube. Now I don't like it as much and as such don't like to talk about it. After this point, the album throws in a filler song with "Santa Monica" it's an okay enough song it doesn't do much to deviate from the formula of the previous songs. "The Feud" is a very fast and energetic song that's pretty damn good but unfortunately it's home to one of the worst lyrics Brian ever wrote, "you are my girl, you were my baby, you were my homemade mashed potatoes, biscuits, and gravy." Jesus Christ that's cringe. Other than that though, great song.
"Funny You Should Ask" is home to a boxing metaphor that's pretty similar to the one used in "Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't" but I hear that line was inspired by a movie so whatever, the song is really good anyways. Energetic, catchy, and really damn good lyrics about the subversion of expectations when growing up. "Tattooed Tears" is another song about unrequited love and being unavailable, it's good, typical formula from the previous songs. Not bad enough to be filler but not good enough to stand out from the other songs. "Lonestar" is a song about abortion, dark subject matter aside it's really catchy and one of the more standout songs on the album. Backflip is one of the singles from the album, but the music video was pretty funny. It's a pretty formulaic song in line with the other ones. It has creative lyrics with themes of friendships and homemade tattoos.
Remember that really big closing line in Twin Size Mattress...wow...they're probably gonna go even bigger with the closing song right. No, not really, it's just a pretty standard and kinda boring song about self-pity. So is the album good, it's alright, it's too comfortable with the few ideas it has that it stretches them out over the length of the album. They have a niche that works well for them and the album itself is a fun enough listen. I'd say if you have nothing to do today, give it a spin, you may find you like it more than I did.