By Samantha Storms
From their beginnings back in 2006, The Front Bottoms have been at the head of the pop punk and indie rock music scenes with their unique combination of upbeat guitar riffs and dark lyrics. The band’s sixth studio album “Going Grey,” released on Oct. 13, showcases their exploration of new musical techniques to compliment the traditional TFB sound that dedicated fans have been blasting as their anthem for the past 11 years.
The 11-track album features tracks that encapsulate the true essence of the familiar The Front Bottoms’ sound. Throughout the album, however, the band sprinkles electronic elements of synthesized guitar beneath steady, heart-pounding drum beats.
Since the release of their last studio album “Back on Top” in 2015, vocalist Brian Sella’s talk-sing style has significantly improved, showcasing the singer’s ability to reach higher notes and offer an overall sound that is much more pleasant to listen to. “Going Grey” offers listeners, both longtime and new, a revolutionized indie rock sound that speaks to the fear of leaving youth behind and to the panic of realizing that you already have – yet the album suggests a coming to terms for the New Jersey duo as they realize the true meaning behind “growing up.”
Indeed, the chorus of the album’s opening track “You Used to Say” is “Holy fuck, I’m about to die.” Throughout the album, Sella seems to be much more cognizant of an impending end, the light at the end of the tunnel. Unlike the past records’ theme of girls, college and escaping small-town life, the songs of “Going Grey” make it clear to listeners that the generation of the here-and-now is experiencing the inevitability of growing older.
The album’s last track “Ocean” wraps up the record with an element of mystery. The track’s chorus, the simple repetition of only the phrase “I’m scared to be living by the ocean,” suggests an unwillingness to go on – an unwillingness to settle down in a house by the sea. The sense of perpetual anxiety that the album evokes sheds light on the raw, seemingly unforgiving nature of time as it relates to the solitary individual trying to find his place in the world.
While representative of The Front Bottoms’ changing sound and state of mind, “Going Grey” magnificently transforms the theme of living unapologetically in the present into the fear of doing so. It represents the anxiety of living so authentically that our time vanishes and we are faced with the daunting question: how did I get here?