The Front Bottoms
In Sickness and In Flames


4.0
excellent

Review

by Ben CONTRIBUTOR (28 Reviews)
September 27th, 2020 | 13 replies


Release Date: 08/21/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Babbling their way through 2020, along with the rest of us

I feel a little bit better when listening to In Sickness & In Flames compared to when I’m not listening to In Sickness & In Flames, which must mean that In Sickness & In Flames is pretty good - right? Right?!

Despite its rather bleak title and cover art, The Front Bottoms’ 5th LP is by far the most fun I’ve had listening to music in 2020. Their latest outing is 52 carefree minutes of pastel hues and soft, round edges; of stadium-sized choruses and warm, bubbly instrumentals - all strings and keys and acoustic clanging. It's easy listening epitomised, with no strings attached or barrier to entry whatsoever, save, perhaps, for it requiring a tolerance to Brian's goofy, scatterbrain approach to lyricism. Sella babbles his way through various odes to self-betterment (everyone blooms), perplexing/heartwarming ramblings on partnership and affection (the truth and bus beat) and nostalgia-tinged tales of escapism and fragility (montgomery forever), yelped with endearing urgency and character that will make you either love or loathe the indie rockers' sound.

Whilst almost certainly not an album to convert their critics, the band's latest spin on their well practiced formula may just be the thing to unite their recently divided fanbase. Brian and Mathew have managed to find a happy middle ground between the fervent, acoustic wailing for their s/t and the more polished and eclectic nature of their recent output. This is no synth-laden Going Grey, nor a return to the frantic DIY aesthetics of their s/t, but rather the combination of these two sides of The Front Bottoms into what is arguably their most cohesive and ambitious creative endeavour since Talon of the Hawk. Whilst by no means straying into the remit of post-rock, there's a new found magnitude to the bois' sound; a sloppy, chaotic blend of the likes of Go Farther In Lightness and Teens of Denial, sporting an addictive, almost orchestral burst-and-release quality. Songs start small, slowly budding and blossoming into layered, celebratory soundscapes. the hard way and leaf pile are the most notable examples, erupting with colour at their respective mid-points, saving both slow burners from dampening the mood of the otherwise upbeat and well-paced LP.

During times of uncertainty, I find myself clinging to simple comforts: to shitty murder mystery dramas, unnecessarily large portions of food and just a few too many beverages for my own good. As I've begun to notice my waistband tighten and liver tire, I've found myself turning to In Sickness & In Flames for a slightly healthier source of relief. Sophisticated and innovative it is not, but neither am I, and I kinda like me (well, sometimes). Rambling, anthemic and overflowing with catharsis: it's a timely celebration of resilience and stubborn glee, radiating posi vibes and juvenile, giddy energy. Just learn the words, sing along and be happy.



Recent reviews by this author
Malfet Alban ArthanGiraffes? Giraffes! Rite Of Summer
Carpenter Brut TrilogyAkimbo Forging Steel and Laying Stone
Ray Lynch Deep BreakfastEND (NJ) Splinters From An Ever-Changing Face
user ratings (50)
3.2
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
AsleepInTheBack
Contributing Reviewer
September 27th 2020


6675 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I fucked up uploading this from me phone. Staff pls help.



Edit: thank you kind overlords

Cormano
September 27th 2020


2287 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review, this is their best since s/t, I'm so glad they found this sound to settle on

Atari
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2020


26087 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Whoah, I legit almost sent you a shout the other day saying I’d love to see you review this..



Killer writing here! It’s so nice to see this underrated 2020 gem get some love



AsleepInTheBack
Contributing Reviewer
September 27th 2020


6675 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers boyos < 3 been trying to write about this since it came out, but have been struggling to find the words. It's just dumb and fun and simple and that's about it. Love it.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
September 28th 2020


12053 Comments


"... or barrier to entry whatsoever, save, perhaps, for it..."

Maybe a dash after 'whatsoever'? I think it's more fitting.

"... Brian's goofy, scatterbrain approach..." "Whilst almost certainly..."

Probably 'scatterbrained' here and 'While' instead

"Whilst by no means straying..."

Same thing here, except maybe differentiate how this starts? Very similar to the paragraph opener.

"... magnitude to the bois' sound; a sloppy, chaotic blend..."

Colon instead of a semicolon I think

These are all basically small nitpicks though, and I quite enjoy this review. Sometimes it's important to just sit back and enjoy something, no matter how silly it may be. Glad this album fulfills that purpose and you do a good job describing it.

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
September 28th 2020


3480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Couldn't agree more with this review, and very nicely written. Hell yes, Ben.

AsleepInTheBack
Contributing Reviewer
September 28th 2020


6675 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers for the c/c mars - when I'm next at a computer I'll tweak and improve.





Love ya blush. Glad you've also enjoyed this one.

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2020


3480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So glad you posted this review, hadn't listened to this in a couple weeks so listened again this morning and there are so many great songs. My favourite's probably Love at First Sight.

AsleepInTheBack
Contributing Reviewer
September 29th 2020


6675 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Interesting choice, definitely rounds out the record in a really pleasing way. The run from track 1 to 5 is probably my favourite stretch, but tbh it works really well as a cohesive whole in a way the last couple of records havent for me.

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
September 30th 2020


3480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Understandable. I prefer the back half, but I think that's cause of their choices of singles.

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
September 30th 2020


3480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I WANNA BEEE THAT PERSON AGAIN THE ONE THAT I AM RIGHT NOW... BUT AGAIN

Also, agree with me, Ben, please, that leaf pile sounds like a response to Vacation Town.

AsleepInTheBack
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2020


6675 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I saw you fighting the good fight for that interpretation in the other thread ... personally, I never saw that listening to it, BUT I do think there is something in the "I wanna be" phrase being repeated that would suggest that your interpretation holds water. Even more so, given that Brian and Mathew have a tendency to link songs together and throw in references here and there. Thematically I do think they tie in with one another, at the very least.

Cormano
October 3rd 2020


2287 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Also, agree with me, Ben, please, that leaf pile sounds like a response to Vacation Town."



I do





You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy