The Front Bottoms has released the six track EP “Ann,” following up the October 2017 release of their most recent album “Going Grey.”
“Ann” is the second album paying homage to a grandmother. The 2014 album “Rose” was dedicated to the grandmother of drummer Mathew Uychich. “Ann” was developed around that time, but was never released into an album on its own. All but one of the tracks, “Tie Dye Dragon,” have been being played for years.
With the release of the album, the band kept much of the original sound and feel of their production, but added in a more mature and complex sound. They truly made an album that melded their earliest style with the professionalism of “Going Grey.”
The indie rock band originated in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. Their first studio album “I Hate My Friends” was released in 2008, and 10 years later The Front Bottoms are returning to their roots to create the raw and emotional “Ann.”
The production over the entirety of the EP has been simplified from “Going Grey’s” maturity and is reminiscent of the band’s earlier albums, keeping the same style that these songs would have originated in. Listening to these tracks for fans is certainly reminiscent of hits such as “Twin Size Mattress” and “Flashlight.”
“Going Grey” took advantage of a much cleaner and modern style, which compiled into an incredible piece, of course, but there is something so raw and simple about the band’s earlier albums that seemed to almost get lost in it. “Ann” brought that simplicity and narrative back.
It’s this simplicity that truly makes it beautiful. Rather than well-placed synths and intricate drum and guitar lines, the entire focus shifts to the lyrics, which is where The Front Bottoms shines.
The band has a talent for creating lyrics that are painfully relatable. Whether describing depression and other mental illnesses or a tumultuous relationship or breakup, The Front Bottoms has an incredible talent for crafting lyrics that describe specific situations with overarching emotions, as if reading a memoir from a favorite public figure or modern poetry compilations.
Lead singer Brian Sella doesn’t describe emotions. Instead, Sella tells stories. These specific stories bring the listener into his world and bring the emotions he wishes to describe to life. Rather than trying to describe sadness, Sella will build a narrative that the listener can follow.
“Ann” also pays homage multiple times to previously released songs that the band has produced, showing its true age. This is always a nice touch for longtime fans, as well, who can connect these different pieces and maybe catch a glimpse in of one of their favorite songs in these new additions.
In “Tie Dye Dragon,” the lyrics “I see the future in mysterious ways” matches with lyrics in “Peace Sign” and in “Lonely Eyes,” one of the final verses beginning with “it’s okay if you’re unhappy” echoes the song “Rhode Island,” a very early track but a favorite.
“Ann” is a step into the past, revealing songs that have been around for many years but releasing them with a newer, refined production style. Fans who have heard these tracks before have truly gotten the opportunity to grow with The Front Bottoms.