Music Reviews

The Front Bottoms You Are Who You Hang Out With

(Fueled by Ramen) Rating - 6/10

Vacillating between intimate and anthemic, The Front Bottoms have proudly worn their hearts on their sleeves over their decade-long-plus career. It's essentially their mission objective: pointing to the everyday hardships of life with whimsical musical cues that remind you that everything will be okay. The New Jersey folk-punk duo carry through with that positive outlook on their eighth LP, all while taking the occasional detours to keep things fresh. While the bulk of the album retains a bittersweet, pop-punk sensibility, in part due to Brian Sella's emphatic speak-singing, they do venture into '90s leaning power pop with chugging riffs and open-hearted singalongs on Clear Path and Not Joking. Clearly, they've taken cues from fellow counterparts Modern Baseball and the Sidekicks' final releases before they both dissolved. The life-affirming Bleachers-meets-Springsteen Outlook is another noble attempt at emulating their hometown roots, but they can't quite put their own spin on the trope. It's a shame how the rest of You Are Who You Hang Out With can't sustain the peaks it reaches with quasi-confessional observations (there's a song called Emotional, for crying out loud) that, while occasionally powerful, come across as rote.