Some albums have a lot going for them, some not a lot, some, like Talon of the Hawk only do one thing, but that one thing is enough.
In their fourth record (second with a label after their self-titled) The Front Bottoms struggle (and mostly manage) to find a space between an indie-folk kind of polished pleasantness and a degree of painful sincerity that finds its roots in the Northeastern folk-punk scene.
The tracklist, between tiptoeing introspection and moments of unbridled, straight-played emotionality
The short first track Au Revoir/Adios showcases the band’s twin tonal souls. It starts with only a tambourine and a single-string acoustic guitar riff to hold up Brian Sella’s raw singing. It then opens up into a deluge that’s not heavy (they limit the amount of distortion, and the guitars take the backseat in the mix) as much as it is hard, hitting the instruments a little harder than one should.
This oscillation between tiptoeing introspection and moments of unbridled, straight-played emotionality complements the band’s lyrics. They explore the search for meaning and connection. “I just want this to mean something to anyone, even if they don’t know who I am,” Sella sings in Swear to God the Devil Made Me Do It. Then again, “I wanna contribute to the chaos / I don’t wanna watch and then complain” in Twin Size Mattress, the song that probably ended up as the album’s manifesto.
A confused generation
Talon of the Hawk sings of a generation of teenagers grown up well into their twenties, fruitlessly waiting for their confusion to go away. Only to realize that growing is a much less clear, way messier process — and it’s never quite finished.
Nostalgia ensues, and we’re not even sure of what exactly.
You can stream the album on Spotify or buy a physical copy from Bar/None Records.