From the first song to the last, Talon of the Hawk by The Front Bottoms shows its gritty, punky teeth and never backs off for long.
Speaking of the first song, it’s called “Au Revoir” and you should go listen to it right now. It won’t take much of your time, its not even two minutes long, but it’s one fun little ride. The lyrics are clever, catchy and funny and the tune is more than likely going to get stuck in your head at some point. Also, after listening to the track, you will have a good grasp on what The Front Bottoms are about. They do a blend of indie and punk rock with folky and pop highlights.
While still keeping all of these elements involved, each track on the album seems to have a different focus and keeps everything moving. “Tattooed Tears” starts as a melodramatic punk song but works in the rock and folk aspect to keep it well rounded and in sync with the rest of the album. This seemed to happen a lot throughout the album. A song would start and elicit one emotion and expectations for where the song was going but by the end of it you travel to a completely different place then you expected. The best example of this is “Santa Monica”. The track starts off sounding like a poppy, indie rock song with some ska tossed in for the fun of it, but by the time the song is over it doesn’t seem as happy or fluffy. All of a sudden it just feels sad.
This is what Brian Sella, The Front Bottoms lead singer and guitarist, is able to express in all the songs on the album. Along with Mathew Uychich on drums, Tom Warren on bass, and Ciaran O’Donnel on the keyboard, trumpet and guitar.
There is a true range of emotion in each track that makes you excited for the next one. This sense of excitement builds up when you don’t really know where the next song is going to take you. Even if you think you have a grasp on a song it may still change its tone on you.
The brilliant thing about it all is that the whole album doesn’t feel disjointed because of this. Each song, no matter how different stylistically, instrumentally or vocally blends together with the rest. There is a real sense of continuity throughout the entire album, which is strange in a way because it doesn’t feel like that is what they were going for. It seems like each song was written to have its own identity, but still stay close with the rest. “Skeleton” is a heavy sounding punk rock song, but the connection it has with the much softer and melodic “Lone Star” is not lost.
“Au Revoir” might get you into Talon of the Hawk, but with an impressive blend of punk and rock elements that make for an emotional and resonant experience, “Twin Size Mattress” will be the track to keep you coming back. It has an incredibly catchy hook and memorable lyrics that the other songs on the album don’t quite match.
So, why should you listen to Talon of the Hawk? Because, using an impressively catchy blend of punk and indie rock, The Front Bottoms have managed to make a truly unique and memorable album. Each song plays a little different from the last, but in a way that doesn’t make you feel lost in a wave of experimentation. Jumping into the album should be easy. The journey to the end will be heavy and in your face at times, but fun and worth a try.