Title Fight’s new album, Hyperview, is like an unopened book you’re holding at the bookstore. You’ve read the back of cover and think, “Ohh! A punk band from Pittsburgh, this should be loud and hostile to the human condition.” Then, you open to the first page and there are all these melodies and emotions alongside those still familiar writings that made the band so good previously and think ‘Wow, left field’. Am I losing you on the analogy? Let’s just move along to the review then, shall we?
Hyperview is a big step forward for the Pittsburgh based punk band. With previous installments the band played with a raw energy that Anti-Records must have clearly seen and hoped to harness. It sounds like they are playing in a new space that they are enjoying. Grooves and rhythms come and go calmly from the speakers. There are walls of approaching atmospheric sounds at the beginning of songs; sometimes used to welcome you into riff or to catch you off guard with a more grandiose section following. To coincide with the music’s polished and crisp sound lead singer Jamie Rhoden softened his vocal approach, which adds an entirely new side to the group. Their previous album, Floral Green, was comprised of a predominantly straightforward punk-heavy approach to the songwriting, but this record shows them playing their instruments differently, singing with more feel than power. This is the album for Title Fight in which they stop thinking of themselves as a punk band and more of a band. Even the names of the songs hint at removing your past and forging onto bigger things like, ‘Muder Your Memory’, ‘New Vision’, and ‘Chlorine’. The album name itself suggests a hyper vision of sorts – maybe that there is more directions the music can go in?
Highlights from the album arrive in ‘Murder Your Memory’ and ‘Hypernight’. The first is a sprawling entrance of space nuggets snapped into beat with a drum-kit that sounds superb from start to finish. Flanging guitars welcome you alongside thick and slow bass thumps. The space between instruments really helps the mood settle for the whole piece with the repetitive lyrics “murder your memory” softly being spoken.
‘Hypernight’ best represents the combination of punk beginnings and their new outreached hand towards sustained grooves and ambiance. The bass line has a hostile thumping sound that leads the song’s stream-of-conscious singing and flange guitar. Flanging guitars are on every song, which does become slightly tiresome at times. It would be nice to hear a sort of one-two punch of effects with the passing songs, but ultimately it contributes to the album’s cognitive sound.
This is a move in the right direction for a band that sounds like they are wanting more out of the music they are making which, in my opinion, is always a good thing. With such great artist under the Anti-Records umbrella such as Tom Waits, Wilco, and Dr. Dog the Title Fight boys should have tons of help. A good portion has been spent on the slowness of the album, but the spots they pick to quicken the pace feels correct to the ears and meshes well with rest of the songs. For a band named Title Fight, they stepped up their game when a big bout came calling.
Written by Curtis Ford
OurVinyl | Contributor