Release Date: Feb 3, 2015
Record label: Anti
Over the years, Title Fight have proven themselves to be a particularly versatile band. Their 2013 EP Spring Songs showcased their ability to incorporate more emotive, downtempo and melodic songs into their typically fast and abrasive repertoire. With Hyperview, the band have settled on a sound closer to those songs, drawing influence in regards to style and song structure from bands like My Bloody Valentine and Dinosaur Jr.To longtime listeners, this sound might be jarring at first.
Pennsylvania indie quartet Title Fight deepen their explorations into stranger territories on their third LP Hyperview. The somewhat dramatic transformation from their post-hardcore/emo debut in 2009 to the more melodic and thoughtful shoegaze style here suggests a growing maturity and a desire to leave behind the Warped Tour image that tends to linger with bands who were nurtured in that youthful and often unforgiving arena. Hints of this change of direction appeared on 2012's Floral Green, but largely their approach still relied on a thunderous aggro attack and the screamed vocals of bandleader Jamie Rhoden.
Baptized in Hot Water Music, schooled in bicoastal hardcore and post-punk, and supported by pizza-obsessed Tumblr kids and critics alike, Title Fight are living proof of the cherry-picking mores of modern punk bands and their audiences. The group’s formative years—namely, the period spanning from the early slew of EPs in the late aughts to their 2011 debut, Shed—painted a portrait of four working-class kids looking to start some skate-ready ruckus and slap some sense into the Warped Tour set. They proceeded to balance that might with melody on 2012’s excellent album Floral Green, and further refined the approach on 2013’s Spring Songs EP.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Young, scrappy punk band makes a handful of albums, begins incorporating an indie rock sound to their repertoire, gets critical and commercial recognition while somewhat alienating their original fanbase. By now, it's a tale as old as time, especially with bands from The Wave of post-hardcore like Pianos Become the Teeth and La Dispute sanding down their fangs with their respective 2014 albums.
A name like Title Fight carries all the semiotic baggage of hardcore: blood, sweat, and impossibly high stakes. It’s quite clear that these were all primary interests of the Pennsylvania band when they formed in 2003. Of course, they were in middle school at the time, but in the eight years it took to produce their debut album, 2011’s Shed, their sound and interests remained largely elemental.
From their inception, Kingston, Pennsylvania’s Title Fight has always been about change. Constantly prodding at the boundaries of hardcore and punk, their 2011 debut Shed and follow-up Floral Green was not only constructed for thrashing mosh pits, but for those who wanted to contemplate deeper themes as well. On the title track of the band’s first album, bassist Ned Russin shouted, “Shed your skin / Change your face,” and now the quartet seems to be taking this simple mantra to heart.
When it comes to progression, Title Fight are worthy contenders. The punk outfit from Kingston, PA isn’t afraid to cut across genres and fan bases alike. From their iconic riffs on 2011’s Shed to the Shoegaze-mixed aggression of 2012’s Floral Green, the band have gradually hinted at their venture into new territory. Releasing unconventional singles such as “Head In The Ceiling Fan” from Floral Green and “Be A Toy” off their 2013 Spring Songs EP, Title Fight have slowly switched from power chords and packed out shows at the This Is Hardcore Festival to relaxed, transient overtones.
Hyperview is a pretty interesting and candid look into Title Fight's journey. It feels like their best written record to date but in terms of musical drive and edge, it just doesn't quite ring like the old days. It's not necessarily a bad thing, as bands press on, mature, evolve and experiment. Case in point, Pianos Become The Teeth.
For anyone familiar with the previous musical output of Title Fight, the first track of their newest album ‘Hyperview’ is undoubtedly set to take them by surprise. A woozy, swirling mist of guitars, ‘Murder Your Memory’ showcases a new side to the four-piece, but it’s one that fits them well. Having, for the duration of their career so far, predominantly gravitated towards the worlds of punk and hardcore, the Kingston, PA quartet have admittedly never been afraid of dipping their toes into the shoegaze pond.
The guys that make up Kingston. PA’s Title Fight must have known they were going to piss off some folks with Hyperview. The band’s 2011 debut, Shed, was a barrage of loud drums and distorted guitars, followed the next year by Floral Green, a record that still drew greatly from post-hardcore and early emo bands, a bruising, but impressive soundtrack.
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