Man I hate having to figure out if I like something or not. I hate it even more when it's an artist I really like. Wow I pretty much just played my hand on this one didn't I? There it is, it's out there, review over…just kidding the show must go on. That's how I feel on this one though, is it good? Kind of. Is it bad? I wouldn't say that but it certainly has its moments of genuine flatness. For a band that released one of the best records of last year I feel like the Front Bottoms can do a lot better than the Rose EP, simple as that.
So let's just get the bad out of the way real quick, it's just not that memorable. In the bands previous effort, Talon of the Hawk, I found myself humming along and getting each song caught in my head. It so naturally snuck in there with their weird mix of indie rock, folk, and punk influences. That's still present here but it just feels more by the numbers. The usual dividing factor of the band is front man Brian Sella's voice. You either love it or hate it, simple as that. Since I've been listening to them I always adored Sella's voice; I thought it was the perfect mix of emotional and original that really fueled the music. On this recording though, it's the first time where I get what everyone is saying. I could see it in the past why people didn't prefer his voice, but I never really got why people wrote the band off. I can hear it on this EP though; it can be kind of obnoxious. I still like it but I feel like the mixing on the album too often accents his voice instead of mixing it with the music as previous efforts did so brilliantly. The low point of the EP is the final track, Awkward Conversations, which seems content on repeating its chorus not 1, not 2, but 6 times. It's kind of catchy the first time but by the end of it I really just want the guy to shut up. Repetition is effective but this is overboard for a less than 3 minute song and I find myself skipping over it almost every listen.
The good parts of the EP really only manifests itself in two songs to be perfectly honest. The opening track, Flying Model Rockets, has a catchy beat and thunderous chant to it and feels like a start to something great. The only thing that picks up that start is stand-out, Jon Bogart, which would be a total 5/5 if reviewed on its own merits. It's an amazing track that mixes Sella's voice with a female vocalist's in beautiful back and forth singing and a build up to a fantastic harmonizing chorus. The rest has its moments, lyrically the band always does a great job at staying personal and relatable to young adults such as myself (I'm 20). I found myself finding the lyrics hit very close to home as they usually do, they were just surrounded by music that felt a bit by the books.
So my final consensus is the Rose EP is okay, it's fine, it's a nice little snack until the band decides to release a nice big feast like Talon of the Hawk again. The only upsetting part is it just feels like what so many people think EP's are. Either a collection of songs that didn't make it on the album or some songs the band recorded in a week. I wasn't there so I can't say this is the case; it just kind of felt that way at parts. In the end if you're a Front Bottoms fan you obviously want to give this a listen, if not just for the brilliance of Jon Bogart. Just consider this a cautious recommendation because I can't promise you'll like it too much.
The Rose EP is okay, it's fine, it's a nice little snack until the band decides to release a nice big feast like Talon of the Hawk again.
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