I had the privilege of seeing Title Fight play at a tiny venue in Austin last week during Fun Fun Fun Fest. And after watching them take the stage with such power and deliver an absolutely captivating set that destroyed everything in sight, it became clear to me that this band had something special about them. Never had I seen a band channel the pure, raw emotion live that they capture so well on record, and vice versa. It seemed that the haunting angst and devastating energy that made Floral Green my number one album of 2012 was as genuine and heartfelt as anything before it, and that that sound was only the beginning of something special. And as Spring Songs, the band’s first material since Floral Green, shows, Title Fight is just getting started.
The EP roars out of the gate with “Blush”, a crushing track that would sound right at home on Floral Green with a bit of the frantic riffage of Shed sprinkled in. Bassist Ned Russin’s vocals shine, bursting with frenzied emotion that engulfs the listener. The band mixes it up next with “Be a Toy”, a bouncy mid-tempo song featuring a sea of fuzzed-out guitars that create a dense fog of noise, with a single shining guitar lead cutting through. The song features guitarist Jamie Rhoden on vocals, something that has really helped Title Fight branch out and expand their sound. Rhoden’s deep, nearly monotonous droning essentially acts as its own instrument, changing the feel of the entire song. His delivery of “Don’t throw me away/I don’t want to be a toy forever” is as haunting as it is heartbreaking, and makes “Be a Toy” a standout track on the EP.
The mournful “Receiving Line” follows in a similar manner, but dials back the distortion and spaciness for a cleaner, more natural sound, letting the sorrowful emotion of the lyrics “I’m sorry for your loss/ You probably get that a lot/ We didn’t have to talk/ You probably get that” take the wheel. It is a softer, more vulnerable side to Title Fight than we are used to seeing, but it shows their range in their abilities. Closer “Hypnotize” cranks the energy back up with a riff and vocals reminiscent of “Like a Ritual” from the last record. Rhoden’s vocals again take center stage, with Russin’s yell covertly lurking in the background periodically. The blending of the two distinct styles creates a palpable tension that really propels the track.
Spring Songs is a very telling EP. Though it is only four songs long, it outlines the band’s path from here. A satisfying mix of everything they can bring to the table, this EP is not only a continuation of Floral Green’s sound, but it is a glimpse into the band’s further explorations. Title Fight is the best at what they do right now, and Spring Songs shows that that isn’t going to be changing anytime soon.