Pennsylvania’s Title Fight have been heralded as the front-runners of the modern wave of punk that has infiltrated social media sites across the web. Their latest release, Floral Green, should not change their status as Side One Dummy’s more renowned exports.
As Ned Russin’s all familiar howl tears through the firing guitars and driving snare roll on Numb, But I Still Feel It, you can hear each nodule of the singer’s larynx rage with earnest defiance. The tracks that follow cement the quartet’s willingness to shed their breakneck speeds for a honed melodic sensibility; an evolution typically met with a sigh but contested by a vocal delivery as biting as the lyrics itself. The chiming guitars and mourning slurs of dreamlike, Head in a Ceiling Fan and Make You Cry provoke a longing for the 90’s emo made prominent by Jawbreaker and Sunny Day Real Estate, yet grasps tightly to the quartet’s trademark raw vocal quality. The harrowing dissonance of Make You Cry is matched by a bittersweet harmony that climaxes to a release of tension, another ace that the quartet has no trouble playing repeatedly. The next cards that follow in Floral Green’s deck fall in quick succession with Sympathy, Frown and Calloused all clocking just over two minutes each.
These quick punch numbers showcase what Title Fight do well and have done well since their origination. As Russin bares his desire to be interesting in Sympathy, it’s his guitarist’s slow-burning contribution that contrasts the group’s songwriting that will generate interest outside of their fervent, existing audience. Floral Green will be well received in Title Fight’s live province with the Kingston quartet happy to share the microphone liberally, a consideration to take for album four.