Ambition can lead to innovation, ambition can also lead to fault
Title Fight is a Punk/Hardcore/Shoegaze band from Kingston, Pennsylvania. Starting in the late 2000’s as an easy-core band, Title Fight progressed to a hardcore-pop-punk band with the well-received compilation The Last Thing You Forget released in 2009. With their next record, Shed, released in 2011, the maturation process started to show it’s roots. ‘Shed’ took all of the best elements of The Last Thing You Forget, the youthfulness, the energy, the hooks, and gave it just a little more age. Shed set the table for their next record, Floral Green, which was released the following year. The maturation process was in full bloom, and their influences of '90s emo - Knapsack, Jawbreaker, The Get Up Kids, Mineral - were also apparent. Floral Green perfectly showcased the early energy of their previous two releases, and the more mature sound that was just starting to show on Shed.
This leads us to 2015. Title Fight has taken the ambitious mindset to never make the same record twice. And they have still fulfilled this promise. Ambition can lead to innovation. However, ambition can also lead to fault.
Hyperview is a beautiful sounding record. There is no denying this statement. Title Fight has taken the sharpness of their previous sound and dulled it, making it much easier to digest. But is this new sound something we want to eat? Soaked in flange, shimmering with reverb, with chorus pedals cranked to 11, Hyperview is the prettiest girl at the dance. But beyond the pretty exterior, there are issues.
The album opens up with the track, "Murder Your Memory," a mellowed out track that sets the stage for the entire record, as every intro track should. The issue here, is that the stage is more or less the same for the entire record.
Hyperview isn’t without some gems. “Rose of Sharon” is one of the few songs that uses bassist’s Ned Russin’s shouted vocals, a signature style of early Title Fight, and sets it in the backdrop to create a good blend of this “new” Title Fight with the old. Another highlight “Chlorine,” takes infectious lead guitar and places them over well-paced drums to once again, give a great take on new vs. old.
Hyperview is a maturation process that has more or less abandoned any of their early hardcore punk influences and focuses mainly on a shoegaze meets The Smiths meets My Bloody Valentine sound. Now is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. When Title Fight is good, they are really good - tracks such as "Murder Your Memory," "Trace Me onto You," "Your Pain is Mine Now." But the flaws that were overlooked in the past releases, whether it be repetition, simplicity, or lyrical cheesiness, are more apparent on the new album. When the sonic landscape changes, the band also has to change. And unfortunately, Title Fight didn’t change. Parts of this record are forgettable, slow, and dare I say boring?
I love Title Fight, I always will. I like the new record, I really do. But to me, it just feels like putting a tuxedo on a skeleton, eye liner on a pig, lipstick on a snake.
by Andy Wilcox