Thursday, June 23, 2011

Album Review: Title Fight - Shed

Kingston, PA based punk band Title Fight puts forth their first full length effort in Shed, released May 3rd, 2011 through SideOneDummy Records. Despite their previous lack of a full length, Title Fight still has managed to earn a reputation as a hype band within their scene, mostly through the accolades awarded to the group by their peers. Title Fight’s previous efforts have solely been through EP’s and demos that date back as far as 2003, Title Fight delivers with Shed, proving their worth on a full length.

Shed finds Title Fight sticking to their sound, featuring fast paced, short, and emotional songs. Though it is indisputable that Title Fight sports a hardcore influence, the songs are less aggressive than they are moody. Despite the pounding of the drums and the grit of the vocals, vocalist Ned Russin spends more time brooding than he does being destructive. The lyrics are more introspective than they are a plea for attention. As Russin cries, “I don’t see anybody else, and I don’t need anybody else,” the music feels more like a journal than a song. Title Fight wins you over through their relatable quality, not through interesting orchestration or flashy drumming.
However, Title Fight’s greatest strength is inevitably their greatest weakness. Everything about their presentation, from the brief song length to the simple chord progressions, is intentionally so in an effort to emphasize the emotion in the music. As a work of art, their delivery is effective, accomplishing exactly what they set out to do, and there is maturity in their less is more attitude. However, appreciating the music is a tolling emotional task, often leaving me in a sour mood as the closer finishes. This is in part due to the hopeless, grating vibe of the album, and in part due to the one dimensionality of the sound. It is possible to sit through the entire album, giving it only half of your attention, and not even notice that the first song ended. Hooks are rare, riffs are simple, and the vocals are relatively static throughout the album. And I feel that I must clarify that I am not bashing the album, this effect is exactly what Title Fight set out hoping to accomplish. These characteristics are intentional and define Title Fight’s sound.
Old fans will certainly find much to appreciate in Shed, and the cohesiveness of the album has established Title Fight as a group with staying power. Though I only find appeal in Shed when I am feeling particularly glum, Title Fight has done a fantastic job in perfecting their sound, delivering their thoughts in a manner that is almost too effective. 

Track List

01. Coxton Yard
02. Shed
03. Flood of '72
04. Society
05. You Can't Say Kingston Doesn't Love You
06. Crescent-Shaped Depression
07. Safe in Your Skin
08. Where Am I?
09. Your Screen Door
10. 27
11. Stab
12. GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

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