Title Fight - The Last Thing You Forget [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Title Fight

The Last Thing You Forget [7 inch] (2009)

Run For Cover

It's a loaded and controversial word in music reviewing, but in Title Fight's case it just seems right: maturation. Graduating from an earnest Can't Slow Down tribute act on their previous EPs -- a 2007 split with the Erection Kids and last year's 7" growth spurt, Kingston -- into a gruffer, more dynamic quartet on The Last Thing You Forget, the band's newest 7" (and collections CD, comprising new tracks with the aforementioned) offers noticeably darker, more depressing fare than they've previously composed. And they're all the better for it.

The band continue their focus on writing razor-sharp, heavy-handed one-liners whose brevity punctuates the band's melodic but fast and rough-edged pop-punk even better than before. "You're a match / that can't be lit," guitarist Jamie Rhoden exclaims in the opener, "Symmetry." "Spark a flame. Burn infinite." It's invective that only deepens when bassist Ned Russin adds in a moment of pure musical dynamism, "You broke me like a mirror. / Seven years keep adding up.," slightly slowing the speedy momentum. The opening track and easily the best on Forget (and probably the band's best to date) takes a surprising turn when the tempo slows for the "breakdown," which is actually sparked by guest vocalist Joe Boynton (frontman of kindred souls Transit) nasally shouting, "Balance -- I'm losin' it! And the ground beneath does not exist." Boynton here sounds just like Travis Shettel, and consequently this part like a Piebald chorus, letting up a bit on the anxiety the track had been building. It's a curveball for sure, but the spin is plenty effective.

"Introvert" is even angrier, with Russin intensely screaming the first verse before everything slows down a bit for a moment of heartaching restraint and indecipherable spoken vocals, providing a '90s emo wall of sound before the track and Russin collapse together ("Let me be the first. / Let me be the last. / Let me be the last thing you forget"). Tim Landers, also from Transit, appears for the closer, "No One Stays at the Top Forever." It starts out in an unwinding, desperate fashion before suddenly picking up the tempo and Rhoden's equally desperate yelps. Then there's another slow-down with sort of a gut-punching waltz.

Only three songs and roughly seven or eight minutes long, Side B offers an unlisted instrumental track that fits the EP's mood perfectly. Ringing chords and soft guitars lumber and flutter for a minute or two in a landscape that hardly resembles the rest of Title Fight's discography -- something between Mineral and Texas Is the Reason, maybe.

In any event, this is another steady improvement for the way young PA four-piece. The other tracks are hardly bad, but if the brilliant "Symmetry" provides a blueprint and the secret song can offer some additional atmosphere for Title Fight's stupidly anticipated full-length, I'll be listening.