Though the Front Bottoms’ smart-alecky, vaguely gynecological band name should’ve been a major tipoff (to say nothing of the cover art), but yes, The Front Bottoms is very much a young man’s record. On their scattershot debut, singer/guitarist Brian Sella and drummer Mathew Uychich tackle the obligatory twentysomething concerns—slutty girls (“Legit Tattoo Gun”), parties (“The Beers”), suburban ennui (“The Boredom Is the Reason…”), uh, patricide (“Father”)—while invoking key post-emo bands of the past 15 or so years (a little Dismemberment Plans, or at least Travis Morrison-y vocals, here, some Brand New there…).
Frontman Sella has a way with words if not always thematic coherence for the duration of a song, but he’s equally facile with arty lines like “Mountain”‘s “I love your eyes, the way they look, when you’re uncomfortable”, as he is with straightforward ones. “It’s just my friends fucking around / They never cut me any slack,” goes “Rhode Island”, which hopscotches from the tale of a bicycle ride to a girl’s new haircut to the aforementioned a-hole friends. It can be dizzying, but Sella can’t be faulted for a dearth of ideas. Insert “kids today and their short attention spans” gag/lament here. It’s all unabashedly quirky, both lyrically and sonically, in a way that’s in short supply these days on the scene. They’re primarily an acoustic guitar and drums duo, but there’s plenty of horns, keys and the occasional string section embellishing the indie folk mix. Lambasting two young men for crafting a “young man’s record” is the height of critical imbecility, but a little focus never hurt anyone, regardless of age or state of mind.
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// Notes from the Road
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