“Lipstick Covered Magnet”
June 17, 2014 - Bar/None
Still riding uncontrollably high off the potent fumes of their stellar 2013 album, Talon Of The Hawk, New Jersey’s the Front Bottoms are back with a stopgap EP of fan favorites from their rambunctious live sets. The first in a series of EPs named after the band members' grandmothers (this one coined after drummer Mathew Uychich’s grandma, Rose), these five tracks are more of the quartet’s patented, melodic, punky college rock.
Vocalist/guitarist Brian Sella, the man who practically tears our heart out while we grin maniacally every time a song from Hawk comes on, is again in perfect form. “Flying Model Rockets,” also a favorite from 2008’s My Grandmother Vs. Pneumonia, features that memorable line “It’s a black-eyed trust, respect my pain, a love that I’ll learn once I’ve been through the same,” which is enough for us, but the song sounds even more heartbreaking with added production and a more cohesive sound. A revamped, almost orchestral version of “Lipstick Covered Magnet,” previously on I Hate My Friends, the band’s self-released debut album, really shows how much the Front Bottoms have progressed, while somehow maintaining the stringent DIY punk ethic that’s made them one of the underground’s most fascinating bands.
More off-the-cuff and acoustic-based than their more recent material, Rose is the perfect way to rediscover a band who continually prove that a guitar, a voice and some head-shakingly clever lyrics are all you need to become the stuff of legend. It worked for the Violent Femmes, the Dead Milkmen and the Weakerthans, and now it’s working like a charm for the Front Bottoms.