PB&Jams: The Front Bottoms

By Samantha Webster, The Dartmouth Staff | 9/19/14 4:00am

Yes, this is the second post I’m writing about The Front Bottoms – but I promise you they’re worth it. And I have an excuse because they’re currently relevant. This summer they put out an EP titled “Rose,” named after the drummer’s grandmother. This is allegedly the first of a series of EPs all to be named after the grandmothers of the band’s members.

The EP is new, but the music it features is some of the band’s oldest. After recurring requests at shows for a handful of songs they’d been playing since they first got together in 2007, the band decided to record a few that had never been formally released.

The six-track EP is true to the band’s character, with witty lyrics and metaphors that can only be pulled off with a driving punk rock melody. As usual, vocalist Brian Sella perfectly delivered everything from brutal honesty to earnest pleas.

There are moments when the lyrics give away the fact that the band wrote these songs at a very different point in their life — a time before they were touring with the likes of Say Anything or Brand New. It’s evidenced when references to going away to college make an appearance in “12 Feet Deep,” or when Sella sings about launching rockets in his neighbor’s backyard in “Flying Model Rockets.

I saw them play at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia about a month after the release and their set list included Jim Bogart, which may be my favorite track off the EP. Here’s a rundown of that song and some other gems from “Rose.”

“12 Feet Deep”

A seeming ode to pretending to be cool, the cheeky chorus of “12 Feet Deep” is made loveable by the heavy dose of sarcasm when Sella slyly sings “we are sooooo punk.” High school adventures of fake IDs and abound with the first few lines:

‘Cause you are water 12 feet deep and I am boots made of concrete
I’ll wear cool clothes, you can show some skin, flash a fake so we will both get in
Now I’m dancing, we are so drunk, we are so cool, we are so punk

My favorite line is undoubtedly this one:

Since when did ‘I wanna hear your voice’ not become a good excuse?
Calling you 3 in the morning laugh at sleep that we’ll both lose

The concept hits hard, as we can all relate to lost connections and an urge to call an ex à la Arctic Monkeys.

“Jim Bogart”

Unconventionally adorable, “Jim Bogart” is a sweet little song with an endearing intro of:

I would sleep better on your floor than I would ever in my bed
And if your carpet makes my face itch it’d still be heaven in my head
I would play more than just four chords if it’s a song that you might like
But I am not very good, so I would practice every night

Except when Sella hits the chorus, which is actually kind of a bummer:

Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to
Sometimes things just don’t work out the way they should flow through

Fingers crossed that things work out for those two.

“Lipstick Covered Magnet”

I still haven’t figured out what the title has to do with anything, but the song seems to tell the story of being replaced by a guy who will “take her out tonight” and unfortunately, “she’ll have an awesome time.” Sella hints at complete exasperation for the situation with a melodramatic chorus of:

I’m gonna get on my knees, would you kick me in the face please?
It’ll make whatever I say sound like poetry
And as my gums begin to bleed the words will fall like teeth
And whatever we had locked up now is free

The song concludes with repetitions of:

I’m scared I’m gonna die as lonely as I feel right now

That almost make you scared that you’re going to die as lonely as he is right now too. No worries though, just start the EP from the beginning again and Brian Sella will keep you company.

Samantha Webster, The Dartmouth Staff