After a single debuting with Vogue and Ned Russin’s recent appearance in GQ, we have entered a world with a new Title Fight. Maybe it’s better to say we are experiencing the next dimension of the ever-evolving Philly favorite. Ditching thrashing drums and aggressive vocals for a sound straight out of the early 90’s, Hyperview delves into the fuzzy grunge the band explored in 2013’s Spring Songs EP. For fans who liked Title Fight before they were dubbed Vogue’s “pretty side of punk,” it was not definitely not what they wanted. After getting over the initial shock (and slight depression), you might realize this is the album we needed. Title Fight started churning out incredible releases when the band members were in high school. As the band grows older and their overt angst subsides, so does the teenage anxiety of the fans that have been around since the The Last Thing You Forget days. Channeling their inner Hum, the old favorite revamped their sound to take us back nearly 30 years to the peak of grunge.
Title Fight’s fourth LP begins with slow guitars, synth and distant, repetitive percussion and vocals in “Murder Your Memory.” The almost hypnotic melody is interrupted with the thrashing guitars and symbols of the album’s lead single “Chlorine.” Still evoking the feeling to jump around and break things, this track quickly got me hooked on their new sound. The heavy baseline of “Hypernight” transitions into the quicker-paced “March.” Ned Russin’s beloved shouting makes a welcomed comeback in the “Rose of Sharon,” also a single. However, because it is Hyperview, the vocals have a ton of reverb and buried under a loud guitar riff.
The back half of the album is an even mix of the types of sounds heard in the first. Overall, there is not a ton of variety throughout. There’s a couple loud jams, a few mid-tempo tracks, and the rest are real slow and sleepy. The guitar pedals used are pretty similar when considering the album as a whole, creating a fluidity from track to track. While the similarity in sound might lead people to think the album would be boring, this release is best when considered it as a whole unit rather than individual pieces. The screeching guitar and synth transitions make it more of an on-going idea with many sections (I’m sure it’s incredible on vinyl).
When this album started streaming last week, it shifted the way most of us think about these young yet influential punk bands. It’s incredibly cool to hear a band as successful as Title Fight take such a risk and drastically changing their brand. While this might have not been the reincarnation of Floral Green I really want in my life, Hyperview is the necessary step in Title Fight’s music world domination. Evoking the sound reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine and A Place to Bury Strangers mixed with some early Nirvana fuzz, this album is going to connect the band to an entirely different fan base. Calling on the cool, indie crowd and fans of 90’s noise rock, an album this well-written doesn’t go unnoticed by the music community as a whole.
To be completely honest, I am not sure what to make about Title Fight’s fourth studio album. I know it’s not what I expected. I know I really, really like it. Do I necessarily understand why a kid in a punk band from PA was in GQ? Not at all, but it’s so dope. Once we all figure out what exactly to do with Title Fight’s evolution, maybe we will be able to fully grasp how this album with impact all the bands that are heavily inspired by them. The popular opinion seems to be that this record is important, and this band is important. The only thing for sure is Title Fight is ahead of the game.