The Front Bottoms' move to Fueled by Ramen Records in 2015 for the release of Back on Top marked a huge leap forward for the band; the hooks were bigger, the production brighter, the songs as catchy and weirdly endearing as ever. Going Grey finds the New Jersey duo of Brian Sella and Mathew Uychich refining this sound even more, and features their cleanest, tightest production to date, with big, sing-along choruses and sparkling synths more prominent in the mix.
Things start out strongly with "You Used To Say (Holy Fuck)," a mid-tempo track with an incredibly catchy chorus destined to be shouted back for many concerts to come. Complementing those strong melodic instincts are Sella's lyrics and vocal delivery, which are thankfully as delightfully idiosyncratic as ever here.
From backyard-spanning trampoline adventures ("Trampoline") to darker, more introspective moments ("Grand Finale"), the imagery and ideas on Going Grey are always vividly realized. Uychich's drumming emphasizes it all, accenting Sella's off-kilter phrasing in ways that really drive home the efficacy of the drummer/guitarist dynamic. The two are always tightly locked, giving the songs a forward momentum that makes it easy to suddenly find yourself listening to the whole album even if you hadn't planned to — it's an enviable trick.
Their plucky DIY aesthetic may be all but gone at this point, but the Front Bottoms have transitioned to the majors gracefully. Certain synth melodies might be a tad too sugary for some, but they bolster the top-notch songwriting on Going Grey, and Sella's unique and unpredictable vocal phrasing keeps the proceedings distinctly Front Bottoms from start to finish. (Fueled by Ramen)