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May 2021
Album review

The Front Bottoms - In Sickness & In Flames

A confusing collection smattered with moments of brilliance.
Label: Atlantic
Released: 21st August 2020
Rating: ★★★
The Front Bottoms - In Sickness & In Flames
Published: 1:27 pm, September 16, 2020Words: Dillon Eastoe.

Jamming their way through lockdown via some stellar Twitch content, New Jersey favourites The Front Bottoms deliver a confusing collection smattered with moments of brilliance.

Following the frenetic burst of singles 'Camouflage' and 'Montgomery Forever' (a surefire favourite in any future moshpit), more ponderous tracks arrive thereafter. 'The Truth' is sugar-sweet, loved up and serene but listless. For a band that grew up singing about being "uncomfortable" and commanding attention with their jarring lyrics and yelped vocals, they've rarely felt as at ease as on the woozy plod of 'The Hard Way'.

On the standout moments, the record finds a sweet spot between the endearing racket of their early output and the polish that characterised predecessor 'Going Grey'. Late highlight 'Bus Beat' is a neat example, riding an addictive groove while capturing TFB's idiosyncrasies.

Across the board, however, this is surely their least immediate, infectious release to date. To his credit, Brian Sella is self-aware enough to identify the creative tension in a self-referential verse on 'Camouflage', "It's like all the time I talk about vacation, like it's all we got in common". At times muddled, at times inspired, this is a band in transition.


© 2018 The Bunker Publishing