Album Review: The Front Bottoms - 'Going Grey'

Long gone are the days of the raw and edgy recordings that indie rockers The Front Bottoms are most commonly known for, as they find their feet with a new polished sound in new album 'Going Grey'.

Opening the record, ‘You Used to Say (Holy Fuck)’ already gives us a rough idea of how the album is to pan out. Boasting bright synths in the first few moments as opposed to the band’s signature harsh vocals and power chords beaten out of old acoustic guitars. It is clear the route that The Front Bottoms have chosen to go down is much different to their previous works. However, this doesn’t mean that the lyrical emotions have withered away, as we’re hit with the more sombre lyrics ‘I’m about to die’. A bittersweet start, as we realise that the glimpse of the duo’s humble beginnings will not be making a comeback, at least not in the same form.

Peace Sign’ comes swiftly after, a punchier track than the last and setting a more solid ground for the album. We get an understanding that The Front Bottoms have definitely calmed down from their younger years, as frontman and guitarist Brian Sella’s voice is more soothing, giving for an easier listen. As the album progresses, the ever-solid drum patterns laid down by drummer Mat Uychich consistently create the backbone. Going Grey proves to have moved on from the amateurish ways of the Self-Titled and Talon of the Hawk, and is a perfect follow up from the bands previous album Back on Top. After hints of the bands roots in ‘Vacation Town’ (one of the singles from the album) and ‘Don’t Fill Up on Chips’, we are given a slower track with ‘Grand Finale’. Sella’s voice switches from the sense of urgency to more harmonising, making the track more engaging and appeasing.

The synths throughout the album really give off a type of retro feel to the tracks, complementing the vocals well. ‘Trampoline’ is a prime example of this, a song about a difficult sort of love – ‘Sometimes when we’re together, we’re not together’, Sella’s voice whine’s over the slightly downbeat keys.

The angst-filled ‘Everyone But You’ begins to wrap up the album as the second to last song. Brimming with distorted guitars and restless vocals, it takes from the flow of the album to hit listeners with a more rugged track – a contrast with the rest of the album. A refreshing moment within the record, as we have become accustomed to the lively synths and glossy mix.

Bringing the album to a close is ‘Ocean’, a track consisting of dynamic guitar riffs and that energetic tint. ‘Ocean’ is probably one of the stronger tracks from the record, and a fine way to wrap the whole thing up.

Going Grey is most certainly an album to come into with an open mind. Once the initial shock of the sugar-glazed mix sinks in, it is an album that can be really appreciated in different perspectives.

'Going Grey' is released the 13th October 2017 via Fueled By Ramen

Review by Sarah Maiden