Kingston, PA’s Title Fight have had a pretty big last few years, first releasing the compilation “The Last Thing You Forget” (Run For Cover Records) in 2009 then following up in 2011, with their first, and critically acclaimed, full length “Shed.”
Now, in 2012, having toured with Rise Against in the spring and playing across the country on the entirety of the Warped Tour this summer, the hardcore punk group are back with “Floral Green.”
Their newest offering, released Sept. 18 via SideOneDummy Records, is a bit of an anomaly, especially for those who are expecting the hardcore, energetic punk of past releases. Title Fight, consisting of Ned Russin on bass and lead vocals, Jamie Rhoden on guitar and vocals, Shane Moran on guitar and Ned’s brother Ben on drums, are a constantly evolving band, not just in musical approach but in lyrics and singing styles as well.
The album’s first single, “Head in the Ceiling Fan,” is an atmospheric, porcelain tune. With an opening, chiming guitar and vocals that are a bit translucent, a daydream-like vibe comes to mind. Maybe a bit like My Bloody Valentine. It’s a neat offering from the band. A great break from the hardcore punk listeners are used to and probably a great live song.
On other songs, like “Secret Society”, their pop punk tendencies shine through. Fast-paced, linear power chords populate the verses while a verse-chorus-verse approach takes hold. “I made promises I can’t keep/I fell asleep” bassist and singer Ned Russin gravely sings. Ned and Jamie’s individual vocal approaches have taken a different path than on previous releases. No longer are they the strained yells of past takes, but not contain an overly melodic approach while still maintaining their roots.
The lyrics here are stellar. With a smoother yet rooted vocal style, Ned Russin and Rhoden write the most honest of lyrics. “Can I tell you everything/All I ever wanted was to be interesting” are some of the more personal lyrics written by Russin. Some are a bit more abstract, as with “Ceiling Fan” and its violent metaphors like “Head in the ceiling fan goes rolling and missing like bullets slamming into deer skin”. The lyrics are just as important to a Title Fight song as the music. Great stuff on that end.
I love this record for it’s honesty, in approach and execution. Nothing about the record sounds fake. It is exactly where Title Fight should be musically at this point in time. They stray from the path and make their own.