The soft indie rock group The Front Bottoms have been on a slow rise to popularity in the pop-punk and indie genres. Their first two full-length records introduce their quirky sound, full of unique instruments, odd vocal patterns, and relatable lyrics. This style that The Front Bottoms made their own is back again, and even stronger, with their new EP, Rose. Dedicated to Grandma Rose, this EP is filled with six new recordings of unreleased tracks that add to The Front Bottoms’ pool of talent.
The opening track, “Flying Model Rockets”, is pretty much the same old song and dance from past efforts. The awkward sounding, yet pleasantly fun vocals of Brian Sella, the bouncing tempo, and distinct guitar melodies provide fans with the sound that they know and love. This track opens Rose strongly, leaving listeners even more excited by the future twist and turns in store of the EP.
The awkward tone of The Front Bottoms’ music is what makes their sound so memorable. One of the strongest tracks on this EP has this element of eccentric attitude through its lyrics. “Lipstick Covered Magnet” uses choppy vocal intonation and instrumentals to shed light on the particular words – “I’m gonna get on my knees / would you kick me in the face please / it will make whatever I say sound like poetry”. The Front Bottoms have made their mastery of this odd style very clear in Rose. “12 Feet Deep” has these same youthful lyrics. Words like – “Maybe college won’t work out and I can come stay at your house / I’m supposed to be at class now but my roommate just passed out”, either give listeners nostalgia of their youth or hits home for kids experiencing similar situations in their life. This personal aspect of music is what’s thriving in the pop-punk scene right now.
This idea of young love in Rose shows up a few times throughout the EP. “Jim Bogart” conveys this theme in the best way, using the acoustic guitar to lead the instrumentals. Female vocals are included as well and enhance the romantic tone. What really makes this song a highlight on the EP, however, are the flute and trumpet background features to give off the lighthearted tone. These irresistible hooks make this distinct track a crucial musical growth for The Front Bottoms.
Rose hits odd paces as it goes from track to track. The choppy matter of “Lipstick Covered Magnet” contradicts the soft rhythm of “Jim Bogart” and so on. “Be Nice To Me” is next up on the EP and keeps listeners attentive with its speedy tempo. Distorted riffs and song structure are somewhat chaotic within the song. Nevertheless, this style works with The Front Bottoms’ free spirited attitude. Contrasting once again, Rose ends with “Awkward Conversations”, a mellow track completely dictated by a lonesome acoustic guitar. Unfortunately, being compared to some of the knock out tracks on the EP, this closer has less of an impact on Rose’s overall sound. The acoustic ballad still has its storytelling lyrics and catchy melodies, but doesn’t have enough power to close the entire EP.
If you have yet to discover the unique style and sound of The Front Bottoms, their EP Rose is a great place to start. The original presence that this band holds in the scene is revived and refreshed with this short addition to their collection. Instead of pushing aside something great that they have, The Front Bottoms take their skills and talents to improve what they imaginatively created.