The Front Bottoms
Back On Top
(Fueled By Ramen)
In recent years, The Front Bottoms have made their way into the hearts of many music lovers. With their real life stories, genuine lyrics and catchy beats it’s easy to see why. They’ve been together since 2007, and in that time have released four full-length albums, and five EPs including a split with hip hop artist GDP. Their upcoming fifth studio album, Back On Top, has been one of their most highly anticipated releases to date. They have been riding high on the success of Talon Of The Hawk since its release in 2013, and are using their newfound influence to reach out to fans all over the world. Now that things are winding down, the group is ready to drop another triumphant release into our laps.
The album opens with a song that quintessentially “them.” The song, titled “Motorcycle,” is a fun loving and energetic track that introduces listeners to a sound they can expect throughout the entire album. While there are many notable songs worth mentioning, “Laugh Till I Cry” is one of the best tracks. This is for a number of reasons, but the main one is the incredibly catchy lyrics. This shouldn’t be a surprise for anyone who’s ever listened to the group before. Their songs are relatable and more often than not they are quite easy to sing along to. One would be hard pressed to find a single track on this album that isn’t toe-tapping worthy. Some other great sing-along tracks are “HELP,” “The Plan (Fuck Jobs)” and “2YL.” Another solid track is “Historic Cemetary.” What makes this one of my personal favorite tracks is the closing verse. Instead of a typical ending, the song closes with a spoken word outro. It adds some dramatic depth to an otherwise pretty straightforward track. The song simply wouldn’t be the same if it had just ended with the main melody.
The Front Bottoms effortlessly blend a variety of genres into their music. “Cough It Out” starts off with an acoustic guitar before transitioning to the full band. The entire song features an acoustic guitar, and at times it sounds like it should be on a surf rock album. There are other times where the band seems so pop punk the vocalist even sounds like Tom DeLonge, like in the song “The Plan (Fuck Jobs).” Actually, he sounds exactly like DeLonge in a portion of that song. It’s just a great track overall. The lyrics are solid, as always, and the trumpet peppered throughout various verses adds a nice touch. One aspect of this band that makes them wholly unique is their ability to incorporate a variety of instruments into their sound. They continue with that tradition on Back On Top and fans will hear a variety of instruments including saxophones, trumpets and plenty of keyboard. Some of the instruments are particularly highlighted in “The Plan (Fuck Jobs)” and “2YL.” They don’t utilize each instrument in every track so when you hear them they are a treat.
Back On Top wraps up with a slightly more morbid track, “Plastic Flowers.” The keyboard sounds like a funeral organ and the verses are reminiscent of a eulogy. While the overall tone of the track is a bit on the mellow side, the band still left plenty of room for playfulness. There’s a short spoken word section in which you can hear the frontman start off his speech with “Shut the fuck up.” They wouldn’t be who they are if they didn’t always find a way to incorporate some outrageousness into their music. It’s actually quite amazing that the band has such a great instinct when it comes to how they piece together their songs. Their choice on instruments, audio snippets and vocal techniques all fit neatly together in a perfect musical presentation. They may seem like a bunch of goofy guys (and I’m sure they are) but they are pretty brilliant when it comes to putting together a song.
The Front Bottoms’ lyricism has been solid from day one. They’re unique, and absolutely jam-packed with metaphors. Their unabashed storytelling makes each song relatable on many levels. The frontman has a unique cadence and timbre which often makes him sound drunk or stoned. Back On Top is likely going to be their most successful release to date. I say this not only because the band has amassed a dedicated following – but because Back On Top is absolutely their best effort so far. It’s impossible to find anything unenjoyable about this album. Anyone who enjoys pop punk or indie rock with some rebellious flair should definitely check this album out. You won’t regret it.