Growing and expanding from a not-so-great band with little expression of talent, to reaching an explosion of emo/indie rock goodness, The Front Bottoms have climbed their way up from the bottom dredges to the front of the scene. Their self-titled album put them on the map, gaining them a solid fan base and establishing their unique sound and presentation of lyrical content. They made a very safe and smart call in the production of their most recent album, “Talon of the Hawk,” released by Bar None Records on May 21, by maturing and becoming a much fuller sounding band while staying pretty much the same.
The Front Bottoms' sound can abstractly be described as slightly out of tune with lack of rhythmic sense slipping into moments of perfect, catchy rhythmic hooks that leave listeners craving those moments.These beautiful, quirky moments are scattered throughout the album with enough neatness to appear accidental, pulling the commonly confusing but poetic lyrical content together.
“Talon of the Hawk” has one thing going for it that the self-titled album did not, which created just enough of a change to stay relevant to what fans fell in love with while keeping them there longer with an added element. Simply put, this album has real, full instrumental action. Acoustic guitar is still the center focus, but there is a higher ratio of trumpet, guitar, bass, and drum, backing up the vocals and making them sound like a fully functioning band. There aren't any crazy trumpet solos or guitar riffs that would have packed a punch, but that may be something to look forward to as they grow more confident in time.
The Front Bottoms lyrics and stories fluctuate through positive scenarios, like loving a girl in “Peach,” and deeply sad, contemplative moments, such as the revelation of paying for an abortion in “Lone Star,” probably as often as the real fluctuation of their human emotions.
After being madly in love in earlier songs, “Funny You Should Ask” contains the perfect line about the selfishness of youth: “But you were young and thought you didn't have to care about anyone / But you're older now and you wish that you could.”
The last song on the album, “Everything I Own,” contains the most mature line on the album: “Keep me quiet, keep me honest, keep me true, keep in my love, keep me believing it's with you.” Ending with this encompasses their ability to be honest with their fans and shows that they might not only be growing as a band, but as individuals as well.
The Front Bottoms 'Talon of the Hawk' Rating: W W W V