Album Review: The Front Bottoms - 'Talon Of The Hawk'

16 June 2013 | 10:45 pm | Staff Writer

A fantastic album full of endearing fusion of quirky sounds and lyrics.

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It’s their charming wit and wry, cheeky flavour that make The Front Bottoms the class clowns of punk. But, like all class clowns, The Front Bottoms have more depth and complexity than their fellow classmates give them credit for. The New Jersey boys’ sophomore offering, ‘Talon Of The Hawk’ is a refreshing alternative to what we’re used to from their peers in the genre. The band swaps a concentration of aggression and emotion for a frankness and quirky personality that is, admittedly an acquired taste. Once acquired however, 'Talon Of The Hawk' is enchanting.

'Talon Of The Hawk' is peculiar and wonderfully strange from the get go. The subtly Parisian accordions, cheery tambourine and drawling edgy tones of the vocalist making the first track ‘Au Reviour,’ an interesting listen, and The Front Bottoms truly hit their stride when the song drops with an anathematic chorus of ‘Rock and Roll, Rock and Roll.’ True to form, the next track ‘Skeleton’ is a erratic and incessantly repetitive song where trumpets and tambourine join the vocalist as he sings about getting stoned and falling asleep in front seat of a car.

Frank, candid subject matter and repetitive refrains are a trademark for The Front Bottoms. In songs like ‘Peach’ and ‘Santa Monica’ the lack of key changes or note variations may become tedious for some. However, The Front Bottom’s unapologetic brand of quirky punk excels in tracks such as ‘Twin Size Mattress’ and ‘The Feud.‘Twin Size Mattress’ is slightly less matter of fact humour and, with lyrics like, ‘I want to contribute to the chaos,’ somewhat more abrasive and revealed. ‘The Feud,’ while sounding a bit like it was written by a clumsy kid on a sugar high, is The Front Bottoms in full throttle and is also the group at their finest.

It’s difficult to pin down The Front Bottoms and 'Talon Of The Hawk' into some kind of genre. However, their willingness to chuck everything into their songs and hope that it works is an approach reminiscent of experimentalists, Bomb The Music Industry!Funny You Should Ask’ reacquaints us with trumpets and accordions and ‘Tattooed Tears’ is a song about an inconvenient love that begins and ends with folky acoustics. Both songs are as loveable as they are entirely honest, and if there’s one thing that The Front Bottoms don’t do, is sugar coat anything, or try to be anything that they’re not.

"Keep me in love, keep me believing its with you" is the standout line of the last track, ‘Everything I Own’ and proves The Front Bottoms’ ability to be both the class clowns of punk as well as the troubled kid in the corner in love with the girl in their science class. Truth is, 'Talon Of The Hawk' may not be for everyone, but with its unapologetic frankness and infectious musical quirks, it’s an album that is worth giving the chance anyway.

1. Au Revoir (Adios) 

2 Skeleton

3 Swear To God The Devil Made Me Do It

4 Twin Size Mattress

5 Peach 

6 Santa Monica 

7 The Feud 

8 Funny You Should Ask 

9 Tattooed Tears 

10 Lone Star 

11 Backflip 

12 Everything I Own

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