Post-hardcore foursome demonstrates a newfound fullness and depth on album two.
Alex Deller 2012
Is there a musical style more content to devour its own tail than punk rock? Often it seems not. Time was when the genre would change, morph, reinvent or at least let sleeping corpses lie a while before they were exhumed. Now it seems acts flit from scene to scene and year to year in search of different sounds to pilfer.
We're at a funny old point now, though. Nostalgia is chasing rehash and reunion to the point where upstarts like Pennsylvania’s Title Fight are touring the same sweat-drenched circuit as the bands they’re aping, many of whom have either joined the reunion conga line or are in their doddering dotage and long past their prime.
Floral Green, then, the band's second album, has a lot to live up to. Not only does it follow hot on the heels of their much-loved 2011 debut Shed, but also new efforts from stalwarts to whom they owe a debt.
As opener Numb, But I Still Feel It roars out the traps you can tell that this band is somewhat in hock to the sounds of vintage Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike. Rather than a straight-up continuation, however, Floral Green demonstrates a newfound fullness and depth that makes its predecessor sound almost two-dimensional.
Alongside the rough ‘n' tumble numbers and cheeky nods to Midwest emo (Frown's guitar line might have crept from a Braid B side, while the tender Make You Cry could be a more boisterous counterpart to something fellow 90s revivalists Pswingset might have penned) you'll also detect the occasional whiff of Sonic Youth and, with Head in the Ceiling Fan, the spacious, languid sounds of Hum.
During Sympathy – ironically one of the album's duller moments – Ned Russin hoarsely admits, “I just want to be interesting.” And you have to hand it to 'em: Title Fight have managed this and then some by retaining their earnest, emotional core while effortlessly expanding their palette.
True, this won’t have you trading in your battered old copy of Frame & Canvas any time soon. But the band have still got their peers beat hands down and exhibit enough vision to have you hoping they’ll transcend mere re-revivalism yet further with whatever they put out next.