This review is a contrasting review to this review
The first in a series of EPs named after the band members' grandmothers (um, ok?), The Front Bottoms new EP, Rose, consists of 6 tracks of older songs from the band that apparently are often requested by fans at shows, but never made it onto the band's previous albums. For someone unfamiliar with the band, perhaps this release is not the best starting point, but for those fans who appreciate the band's previous efforts, this EP should tide them over until their next proper release.
Most of the tracks here are heavy on the acoustic guitar, with catchy melodies, mid—tempo drums and driving, melodic bass lines. Singer Brian Sella's evocative lyrics are full of clever wordplay (sample: "I'm gonna get on my knees, won't you kick me in the face please / It'll make whatever I say sound like poetry / And as my gums begin to bleed / the words will fall like teeth / and whatever we had locked up now is free") and are certainly one of the most interesting things about this release.
"Lipstick Covered Magnet" and "Twelve Feet Deep" are the two standout tracks on this EP. The former layers acoustic and electric guitar with multiple vocals, delivering a catchy singalong chorus. "Twelve Feet Deep" give a good indication of the band's fan base, with lyrics professing love for a former high school classmate while dealing with the trials of freshman year at college. It's easy to feel empathetic when Sella sings "You are water twelve feet deep and I am boots made of concrete".
The Front Bottoms are currently touring with Say Anything, and Brian Sella was recently featured on the title track from Say Anything's Hebrews. Comparisons between the vocalists of those respective bands are inevitable— Sella's inflections and tone are very similar to those of Max Bemis. Accordingly, listeners' opinions of the vocals can be just as polarized as with Bemis; to some, the vocals sound passionate and heartfelt, to others, they sound whiny and lazy.
The problem with these old songs is that they sound old. For the most part, Rose would have sounded somewhat dated even a decade ago. This doesn't mean that the songs are bad, but simply that they don't add anything new or innovative to the genre. Much like a grandmother, there's a lot to love about them, but they're a little past their prime.