In rotation: The Front Bottoms
A series in Sunday Calendar about what Times writers & contributors are listening to right now...
The Front Bottoms, who understand coming-of-age dread, are the kind of people, to summarize Nick Hornby’s “High Fidelity,” who fear being alone forever in their mid-20s. When the protagonist of “Father” leaves his girlfriend’s house in the morning, singer/guitarist Brian Sella asks, “Can I stay inside your head?” The galloping acoustic guitars and high-school-band bullhorns thankfully get Sella out there of before anyone has time to cringe.
The punk rock of New Jersey’s the Front Bottoms is young-at-heart but it doesn’t really want to be. Fitting into a long line of emotional over-shares amongst the punk community (see Jets to Brazil, the Weakerthans), each Front Bottoms song is packed with words and spiked with humor.
“I love your eyes the way they look when you’re uncomfortable,” Sella sings near the start of the album, and then proceeds to celebrate awkwardness for the rest of it. Keyboards mimic orchestras, acoustic guitars pretend to be electric ones and every verse begs for a closer listen, whether the band is managing grown-up expectations in “Maps” or getting arrested after buying Pennsylvania fireworks in “Mountain.”
There’s adolescent drama here, sure, but as Sella yells at his friends to stop taking pictures, the true intent of the album becomes clear. This is a pop soundtrack for learning to live in the moment.
The Front Bottoms
Photo credit: Lucia Holm