I can see where some fans of Title Fight prior to their new record Hyperview might feel a little distraught or confused. Floral Green was this one long bloody scream of anguish sountracked with a wall of drums and guitars that was reminiscent of Motion City Soundtrack of steroids. Vocals front and center, it was an emotional exorcism put on record. It was something you could mosh to and cry to, even at the same time. With Hyperview, Title Fight have given into their previously mild flirtations with more of a dreamy, distant sound. There are some missteps here and there, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and let your favorite band grow a little.
“Murder Your Memory” is the first clue that your favorite punk band from Pennsylvania have decided to change things up. The tempo has been downgraded to almost a distant shuffle. Jamie Rhoden’s vocals barely rise above a whisper, giving the song a maudlin feel that is quite striking when you think of Floral Green‘s opener “Numb, But I Still Feel It”. “Chlorine” picks up a bit, sounding a bit like Title Fight’s Pennsylvania brethren Nothing. “Hypernight” sounds like a cross between Whirr and Sunny Day Real Estate, with Rhoden putting his voice back in the screaming levels.
Here’s the thing, I hear “shoegaze” thrown around quite a bit when folks are talking about Hyperview. Sorry ,but this is not a shoegaze album. Shoegaze, besides being used way too much to describe some pretty but bland albums, is something far different than Title Fight. It’s far druggier, gnarlier, and dangerous. The only thing Title Fight’s album has in common with any real shoegaze record is that the vocals are mixed into the music, not above it to be the central focus. No, Hyperview has far more in common with the Captured Tracks roster. Bands like Wild Nothing, Beach Fossils, and Diiv seem to have offered up some DNA strands for Title Fight to meld with their own sound. “Your Pain Is Mine Now” is dreamy and pleasant with a hint of sadness. Chords ring slightly dissonant giving the song an eerie Motels vibe. “Rose of Sharon” has an early 90s feel. Portland and Seattle in all their heroin glory days. The last half of the album teeter totters between blissful lamenting and hard edged indifference.
I think Title Fight seem to be wanting to expand their sound from emotional sanctification and barrel-chested punk aggression to something more subtle and restrained. With changes like that to ones art you end up pissing off some fans and they call you a sell-out. To those fans I say growing pains can hurt, but you gotta let it happen. Hyperview, to some, will be a painful growing spurt. But to the more open-minded listener they may find things are really starting to fit nicely.
7.6 out of 10